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Ravens 'Very Much' Want Matthew Judon Back

OLB Matthew Judon
OLB Matthew Judon

The Ravens lost two top pass rushers in free agency last offseason and don't want to see it happen again.

On Friday, Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked how much he wants the team to re-sign Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon and how difficult he believes that will be.

"Very much and pretty hard. But we're going to try," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh pointed to the fact that the Ravens have already shown their commitment to keeping players. Eight Ravens were re-signed before their contracts expired to prevent them from hitting the market, including cornerback Marcus Peters, fullback Patrick Ricard, wide receiver Willie Snead IV and linebacker L.J. Fort during the season.

"That's something that is really important to us," Harbaugh said. "We're going to try to get as many of these guys re-signed as we can. Matt is probably right at the top of the list, for sure."

The Ravens' other leading pending free agents are defensive tackle Michael Pierce, cornerback Jimmy Smith, linebacker Patrick Onwuasor and wide receiver Seth Roberts. Cornerback Brandon Carr is under contract with a club option. Harbaugh expressed his desire for all to return.

Baltimore saw Za'Darius Smith walk last offseason when he got a mega four-year, $66 million offer from the Green Bay Packers. The market for pass rushers can go bonkers.

However, it's also clear how valuable they can be. Smith played up to the price tag with 13.5 sacks this season, helping the Packers reach the NFC championship. Terrell Suggs also left last offseason to go to Arizona.

The Ravens finished 21st in the league with 37 sacks this season, but they also blitzed more than any other team in the league. Judon led the way with 9.5, fellow outside linebacker Tyus Bowser came in second with five and rookie Jaylon Ferguson had 2.5.

Judon has been very steady over his four years in Baltimore, notching 28.5 sacks and missing just two games since being a fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State in 2016. That's more sacks than Smith had on his resume before the Packers gave him a huge payday.

"It just depends on what the market ends up saying," Harbaugh said. "Once you get past the season and guys get to this point, the player wants to know what the market is going to be. We'll see what the market is and see what we can get done."

The Ravens do have the option of using the franchise tag on Judon, which is projected to be about $16.3 million. Leaving the franchise tag available was another benefit of inking Peters to an extension before the regular season ended.

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