In some form or fashion, the Baltimore Ravens wanted to keep starting pass rusher Matt Judon on roster for 2020. Back in late December, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Baltimore would franchise tag Judon if a long-term deal did not come to fruition, and back in March, that's exactly what the Ravens did. On Thursday, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported that Judon had officially signed his franchise tag.
While the Ravens placed the tag on Judon earlier this offseason, they still tried to come to terms on a multi-year deal. Up to this point, the two sides had been unable to hammer out an extension, but they still have until July 15 to work on a long-term contract. Either way, he is locked in for 2020. Judon is coming off of a career year in 2019, and he stepped up in a major way to help Baltimore deal with the departures of both Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith. With that added opportunity, Judon notched a career-high 9.5 sacks and 33 quarterbacks hits to go along with 54 tackles and four forced fumbles. That stellar play also helped him be named to his first-ever Pro Bowl.
Judon was originally selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Grand Valley State. He had been a solid part of a talented linebacking corps for the Ravens, but truly proved his worth as a pass rusher in 2019. As a team, the Ravens allowed the fourth-fewest yards (300.6) a game in the league.
Apart from Judon, the linebacking corps was not exactly one of Baltimore's biggest strengths in 2019, but that should change next season. The Ravens selected linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison in this year's draft, and both will have a chance to start along with Judon. The Super Bowl aspirations have not changed for this defense or for this team as a whole.