Patriots Keep Making Big Moves

The New England Patriots reportedly agreed to terms with free agent edge defender Matt Judon formerly of the Baltimore Ravens
Publish date:

After adding tight end Jonnu Smith and nose tackle Davon Godchaux on the first day of the free agency negotiating period Monday, the New England Patriots were not done landing new players.

The Patriots made it three major acquisitions on the day when they agreed to terms with Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon, per multiple reports.

Soon after came reports of another acquisition, this time the Patriots coming to terms with former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills on a four-year contract.

Having finished 27th in the league with just 24 sacks last season and finishing in the bottom third of the NFL in rushing yards allowed (2,103), the Patriots could use someone like Judon to bolster their front seven.

In 14 games (13 starts) last season, Judon had six sacks and 50 tackles. Since he entered the league in 2016, Judon has 34.5 sacks in 76 games. He made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020, and has 103 quarterback hits in his five seasons. The Ravens selected him in the fifth round (146th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Here’s a scouting report from NFL Draft Bible:

Judon was an absolute steal in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and has vastly improved his game every year he has been in the league. He possesses an excellent frame at 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds with great length and bend off the edge. He is also a very explosive athlete who is able to beat offensive tackles with his natural physical gifts. Due to his athleticism, he is able to fill multiple roles defensively and is a true chess piece along the defensive front. Judon has mainly shined as a pass rusher thus far throughout his career, but he has improved tremendously as a run defender. An area of concern to take into account for Judon is how aggressive the Baltimore Ravens play on defense. With the highest blitz rate in the league, it’s hard to imagine that Judon’s numbers weren’t at least a little inflated playing in that system. The constant blitzing had him in frequent one-on-one matchups that no doubt helped him reach the sack totals that he did. Continuing to win off the edge despite double-teams and dealing with chip blocks will definitely be something to keep an eye on if Judon moves on to another team this offseason.

Chase Winovich led the Pats with 5.5 sacks last season.

Signing Judon and getting linebacker Dont’a Hightower back after the veteran opted out of the 2020 season could go a long way toward helping the Pats defense become a force again after a down year. The 31-year-old Hightower, who had 5.5 sacks in 2019, is entering the final year of his contract with a cap hit of just less than $12.5 million.

Mills started 49 games in five seasons with the Eagles, including 15 at safety last year after he moved over from cornerback.