The Baltimore Ravens officially placed the franchise tag on edge rusher Matthew Judon on Friday. The move comes as no surprise. Eric DeCosta and the Ravens were not about to let the team’s top pass rusher walk away without a fight. Baltimore now has two options. The Ravens can either work out a long term deal for Judon, or the Ravens can trade him (an increasingly popular move among teams that franchise tag pass rushers). What happens moving forward depends on two factors: Matthew Judon’s agent’s financial demands for his client and the offers the Ravens receive from other teams for Judon.
The tag will force the Ravens to pay Judon $16,266,000 in 2020 if the team does not trade him. He will become a free agent in 2021 if a long-term deal is not reached.
There’s no easy way to predict what will happen. If Judon and his agent demand $16 million per year for five years and threaten a holdout, the Ravens may be forced to trade their prized pass rusher. However, if trade offers are not great and the Judon camp’s demands are more reasonable, then Baltimore could etch out a deal.
If we look at history for an indication of the future, it seems likely that the Ravens and Judon will come to an agreement. According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, the Baltimore Ravens have used the franchise tag on six players prior to this year.
Here are the players and years the franchise tag was applied:
- OL Wally Williams (1998)
- CB Chris McAlister (2003, 2004)
- LB Terrell Suggs (2008, 2009)
- DT Haloti Ngata (2011)
- RB Ray Rice (2012)
- K Justin Tucker (2016)
Of those six players, only one (Wally Williams) did not sign a long-term deal after being tagged. This does not automatically mean the Ravens will extend Judon, but it does give hope.
Matthew Judon is the king of cryptic messages on Twitter. After receiving the franchise tag, you knew he would be saying something (or maybe it’s nothing). I’ll leave you all with his tweet, and you can be the judge of what he’s thinking.