The New England Patriots have been the most active team in the early stages of the NFL's legal tampering period, agreeing to terms with former Baltimore Ravens pass-rusher Matt Judon, Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith, Miami Dolphins nose tackle Davon Godchaux and Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills.
Judon is coming to Foxborough on a four-year, $56 million deal, including $32 million guaranteed in the first two years, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. Smith, arguably the top player at his position on the open market, agreed to terms on a four-year, $50 million deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, while Godchaux gets a two-year, $16 million deal. Mills inked a four-year, $24 million deal, per Schefter.
Judon was considered one of the top outside linebackers in free agency, and is coming off of his second consecutive Pro Bowl season. Last offseason, the Ravens placed the franchise tag on Judon, and now, he has capitalized on the open market. In 2020, he recorded 50 combined tackles, six sacks and two passes defensed in 14 games played. In Baltimore's two postseason games, Judon recorded six combined tackles, one sack and forced a fumble.
With Judon, the Ravens again had a top 10 defense last season, averaging 329.8 yards of total offense allowed per game in the regular season. Judon was originally selected by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Grand Valley State, and has recorded 34.5 sacks and 236 combined tackles in 76 career games played.
Despite being ravaged by COVID-19 opt-outs in 2020, the Patriots defense ranked 15th in total yards allowed per game with 353.8. They had the seventh-worst rush defense, however, and recorded just 24 sacks, which was tied for sixth-worst in the league. Adding Judon gives New England's defense an immediate boost, as Bill Belichick looks to rebuild this roster to compete in 2021.