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Patriots 90-Man Roster Spotlight: Matthew Judon

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New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The New England Patriots can have up to 90 players under contract during the offseason. Patriots Football Now will profile all 90 of these players (though there are currently 91 on the roster) over the upcoming months. Today’s profile is on outside linebacker Matthew Judon.

Matthew Judon

The New England Patriots signed free agent Matthew Judon on March 19, 2021. The Baltimore Ravens selected Judon in the fifth round (No. 146 overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. Judon played college football for the Grant Valley State Lakers. Matthew Judon dominated the competition at the Division 2 level. In his senior season (2015) Judon finished with 20.0 sacks, which led all NCAA players. He amassed 81 tackles, including 23.5 tackles for loss, and forced three fumbles.

Judon spent his first five seasons in Baltimore. He became a starter in 2017, his second season. In 76 games with the Ravens, he recorded 34.5 sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice (2019, 2020).

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Judon kept his Pro Bowl streak alive in New England. He made the Pro Bowl each of his first two seasons in Foxboro. He totaled 28.5 sacks in 34 games. Matthew Judon played in 39 consecutive games to begin his tenure in New England. He has been the Patriots’ lone Pro Bowl representative over the past two seasons.

Matthew Judon suffered a season-ending injury in 2023. After only four games (and 4.0 sacks) his campaign ended. He suffered a biceps injury that would keep him sidelined for the rest of the season. Team captain Deatrich Wise Jr. described the loss of Judon as “devastating.”

Contract Status

Matthew Judon has only one year remaining on his contract with the Patriots. His cap hit is just under $15 million.

Linebacker Group

The New England Patriots linebacker group is in excellent shape heading into 2024. Their 90-man roster features Matthew Judon, Jahlani Tavai, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche, Raekwon McMillan, Christian Elliss, Joe Giles-Harris, Oshane Ximines, Jontrey Hunter, and Jay Person. It is a good mix of inside linebackers, edge defenders, special teams contributors, and practice squad candidates.

Outlook for Matthew Judon

The Patriots hope Judon returns to full strength upon his return. Last season’s squad ranked near the bottom of the NFL in sacks, finishing with 34. The 2022 team, with a healthy Judon, amassed 54. New England missed Judon and his teammates missed the attention he drew from opposing offenses. Josh Uche’s sack total dropped from 11.5 in 2022 to 3.0 in 2023. Having Judon attract consistent double teams makes everyone on the defense better.

Matthew Judon turns 32 before Week 1 of the 2024 season. Despite entering his tenth NFL season, getting an extension done should be a priority for the New England Patriots. He is a team leader, fan favorite, and difference-maker on defense. No team replaces a player like Judon, as New England discovered last season.

Award-winning blogger, Dan's work has also been featured on Fox Sports, Boston Metro, Barstool Sports, MLB.com, and many other outlets.

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