Matthew Judon holding his free-agency choices open however says ‘I would like to be again in Baltimore’ – Ravens Wire

Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon is one of the biggest names set to hit free agency this offseason. He’s one of the better all-around EDGE defenders, capable of doing everything including defending the run, dropping back into coverage, and rushing the quarterback. That versatility mixed with decent production over the last two years will likely see Judon receive a ton of interest in free agency.

Talking with CBS Sports’ Adam Schein, Judon seemed to be keeping his options open. He said he’d love to return to Baltimore but also recognized things have to line up to make that happen.

“I haven’t been nowhere else, so I’d love to be back in Baltimore,” Judon said to Schein. “Just, it’s gotta line up, it’s gotta be perfect, and we’ve gotta make it work. So, if I’m in Baltimore I won’t be sad — trust me, I love it here.”

While the Ravens would undoubtedly like to have Judon back in purple and black for 2021 and beyond, they have to make smart decisions this offseason. After extending star players like cornerback Marlon Humphrey and tackle Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore has little money to spend. With the salary cap expected to lower for the first time in over a decade, the Ravens will have an estimated $20.18 million in available salary-cap space, according to Over The Cap.

Pass rushers are worth their weight in gold in the NFL. And considering what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just did to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV thanks to a very capable pass rush, plenty of teams are likely going to try to replicate that success through free agency. That means the value of top EDGE defenders could quickly get out of control and ultimately see Judon price himself out of Baltimore’s interest.

Judon clearly understood that possibility as well, telling Schein that he thinks it would be “exciting and fun to play for a new organization and figure out what other teams are like out there.”

The Ravens have options available to them this offseason. After using the franchise tag on Judon last offseason, they could technically do it again this year, though that wouldn’t make a ton of sense financially. Baltimore could instead turn their attention to their other pending free agent, Yannick Ngakoue, after trading for him midseason. Of course, if the Ravens identify a pass rusher they like more or one that offers better value, free agency is also a viable alternative.

If this is the last of Judon in Baltimore, it will have been a pretty great run. It’s not very often a fifth-round pick develops into much more than a depth player, much less a starter, and even much less frequently into one of the league’s star players.

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