Matthew Judon likes to pressure quarterbacks, but he is not pressured about the possibility of playing under the franchise tag in 2020.
After signing his one-year franchise tag about two weeks ago, Judon still has until the July 15 deadline to reach a long-term agreement with the Ravens. But whether he signs a new deal or not, Judon is happy to remain in Baltimore for his fifth season.
Judon will earn $16.8 million next season if he plays under the tag, per Spotrac. It's a sizeable pay jump after he made his first Pro Bowl in 2019 with a career-best 9.5 sacks.
Judon is in a good situation, knowing that top pass rushers in their prime command top dollar. While he would love to sign a long-term deal for stability, Judon is focused on preparing for next season while his contract situation plays out.
"I'm pleased to be tagged," Judon said during a Monday video conference call. "I feel like only a few players get to go through this in their lifetime. As much as I want stability in the future, I'm proud of where I'm at and where I came from, a fifth-round draft pick. I'm pleased with how my career's been going."
Judon was a Day 3 pick from small-school Grand Valley State who has become one of the NFL's top outside linebackers. He is one of just four NFL defenders to record at least 150 tackles, 70 quarterback hits, 40 tackles for loss and 20 sacks since 2017, joining new teammate Calais Campbell, Arizona's Chandler Jones and New Orleans' Cameron Jordan.
Now he's hopefully that he will join other elite outside linebackers with a big-time contract, but isn't sure whether that will happen this offseason.
"As far as the progress, we still have until the 15th," Judon said. "I think we got 30 more days to work out a long-term contract. We're just going to see how it goes from there. I'm happy to be a Raven. I want to stay here as long as I play, but I understand that it's a business."
Judon acknowledged that he isn't the Ravens' only young, talented player who is seeking a new deal. Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley is entering the final year of his contract, while the Ravens would also like to sign Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a long-term deal before his contract ends following the 2021 season. A Lamar Jackson extension isn't too far around the corner.
Judon is being patient while the Ravens work on the challenge of keeping their young nucleus together under the salary cap.
"We've got a lot of young talent and unfortunately we all can't stay on a rookie deal our whole careers," Judon said. "They have stuff they have to address, and obviously I have needs as well. So if we can meet and work on that, I'm A-Okay with that."
Describing himself as a "workaholic", Judon said he has been working out two or three times a day while leaving the contract negotiations to his agents. Judon had his best season in 2019 with 9.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, 54 tackles, and 33 quarterback hits (fourth-most in the NFL), proving he was not distracted by the uncertainty of his future.
Judon said he's not paying all that much attention to the contract talks. He said it's handled by his agent and he gets most updates through the media like everyone else.
"As long as I get to continue to play this game, I'm going to feel blessed," Judon said. "If I have to play under the tag,[comma] that's good for me. After that it will be my sixth year playing in the National Football League. Hopefully, we can work something out."