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Free agent profile: Edge Matthew Judon

Would the former Raven make sense to replace Von Miller?

Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens
Could Judon replace Miller?
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

If the Broncos elect to move on from Von Miller they could elect to pursue a premier edge rusher to replace him. While Bradley Chubb made the Pro Bowl, he also missed time in both of the last two seasons and the Broncos may not see Malik Reed as a starting caliber edge rusher.

Would it make sense to add the Raven’s last franchise player?

Player Profile

Matthew Judon, Edge, Baltimore Ravens
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 261 lbs.
Age: 28
Experience: 5 NFL Seasons

In 2016 the Ravens picked a little known defensive end out of Grand Valley State in the fifth round. Judon notched four sacks as part of the Ravens outside linebacker rotation his rookie year. With the departure of Elvis Dumervil, Judon found his way into the starting lineup in his second season. He made the most of the gig with 173 individual pressures, 93 QB hits, 30.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, eight passes defensed, and 50 tackles for loss over the last four seasons.

After the 2019 season the Ravens made Judon their franchise player. While he made it back to the Pro Bowl for the second time of his career, it does not sound as if he expects to return to Baltimore in 2021.

“I would like to thank the Ravens organization. You all might ask me, but I don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” Judon said. ”I don’t know what’s going to happen in my future – that’s all out in front of me. But the past five years, man, it’s been a hell of a ride.”

Why it makes sense

If the Broncos move on from Von Miller they could elect to pursue a top tier free agent pass rusher. Judon younger than the Broncos’ future Hall of Famer and hasn’t suffered the kind of lower body injuries Miller or Chubb have in their careers. Since he was drafted he’s played in 80 of the Ravens 84 games.

Judon has experience in a defense that requires edge players to play in space, something Vic Fangio’s defense demands. From day one he would give the Broncos another pass rusher who can also drop into the flat, work inside on stunts, or threaten tackles outside the arc.

By Sports Info Solutions charting Judon finished with 58 individual pressures in 2019, 15 more than any other year in his career. While that screams outlier, it’s worth noting that Judon rushed less in 2020 because Baltimore had such a crowded edge rotation after the Yannick Ngakoue trade. On a per snap basis, Judon has generated pressure at a consistent rate over the last two seasons.

Why it doesn’t make sense

Price relative to expected production is the big thing.

There’s been some confusion as to Judon’s demands on the free agent market, something he’s helped to fuel. ESPN’s Jamison Hensely reported the Ravens offered Judon $16.5 annually, which led to a strange Twitter feud in February. The edge rusher threated to leak photos of Hensely in a strip club on Instagram to coax out an apology.

Paying Judon as if he’s a Von-esque rusher looks like it could a huge issue down the road. Wink Martindale’s defense is the most aggressive in football, which means Judon has had easier runs at the quarterback than most of his peers in recent years.

The Ravens tagged Judon after his 2019 season in part because they found themselves in a tough situation to try and replace him, but over the year’s they have a formulaic approach to outside linebackers. They’ve shown a willingness to draft late round edge prospects, groom them up, and let them leave in free agency in order to recoup a compensatory draft pick.

Final Thoughts

If the Broncos are going to pay Matthew Judon top-of-the-market money, I’d rather Paton hold onto Von Miller. While the future Hall of Famer is older and coming off a freak injury last season, he’s far more proven.


Should the Broncos replace Von Miller with Matthew Judon?

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