Matt Judon envisioned one day retiring with the Ravens.
However, the outside linebacker made the tough decision to sign with the New England Patriots as a free agent this offseason. Judon inked a four-year, $56 million deal, which was apparently more money than he would make in Baltimore.
"It's hard to leave, but that's what I had to do for my career," he said in his first Zoom call as a member of the Patriots. "It worked out how it was supposed to work out. I think I'm in the best situation possible for my football career."
The loss of Judon leaves a void for the Ravens with their pass rush.
Since 2017, is one of four NFL defenders to compile at least 200 tackles, 50 tackles for a loss and 30 sacks, joining Cameron Jordan, Demarcus Lawrence and T.J. Watt.
Judon should be a solid fit for New England's system.
"Life-changing decisions, you've got to do them fast and swiftly," Judon said. "I just got to get in and know the system. It's not like comparing the two. I don't know, because I haven't taken a snap in New England. We're just going to get in there and we're going to figure out more. Whatever coach needs me to do, I'm willing to do."
Judon was selected by the Ravens in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft from Grand Valley State. He made almost an immediate impact and was named to the Pro Bowl over the past two years.
Prior to last season, the Ravens designated Judon as their 2020 franchise player. That franchise tag cost the Ravens just over $16 million, and they were not able to reach an extension during the regular season.
Judon was one of the team's most productive players and finished the regular season with 49 tackles, six sacks, and 21 quarterback hits.
Baltimore and New England are not scheduled to play in the 2021 regular season.
I'm where I'm supposed to be and I think I'm going to make the best out of this for my career, and for the team I'm playing for, which is the Patriots," Judon said.