(Updated: 8:30 a.m. Friday)
Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon signed his franchise tender with the Ravens on Thursday, guaranteeing his salary for the 2020 season.
The franchise tag value for the linebacker position is $15.828 million this season, but the NFL Players Association had argued Judon’s tag should be at the $17.778 million number for a defensive end. To resolve that point of contention, a compromise was reached at $16.808 million, according to NFL Network. The Ravens worked out a similar compromise with former outside linebacker Terrell Suggs upon giving him the franchise tag in 2008.
The Ravens have until July 15 to sign the 27-year-old to a long-term contract extension or Judon will play for the tag amount this season and become a free agent again next March. With Judon now officially under contract, Baltimore could still trade him to another team, but that remains unlikely after rumors prior to the draft never amounted to a deal. The signing also means Judon would be subject to fines if he chose not to take part in mandatory team activities.
General manager Eric DeCosta confirmed earlier this month that talks were continuing with Judon’s representation and said at the scouting combine in February that a long-term extension was something the organization “would love to get accomplished.” Each of the last five Ravens players to receive the franchise tag eventually signed a long-term extension to remain in Baltimore.
A 2016 fifth-round pick from Grand Valley State, Judon has never missed a game due to injury in his four-year career and registered a career-high 9 1/2 sacks and 33 quarterback hits (fourth most in the league) to make his first Pro Bowl last season. The 6-foot-3, 261-pound linebacker has 28 1/2 sacks, seven forced fumbles, seven pass breakups, and 185 tackles in 62 games, 36 of those being starts.
Pro Football Focus graded Judon 43rd among 102 qualified edge defenders in 2019.