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Report: Matthew Judon signs franchise tag

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Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens OLB Matthew Judon has officially signed the franchise tag, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com and NFL Network.

The Ravens placed the franchise tag on Judon on March 13, over two months ago, before he was able to hit the open market as a free agent. Judon is now set to make a little over $16 million for the 2020 season, unless a new deal is agreed upon.

Judon was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Grand Valley State. He has since been one of the most productive and reliable defenders on one of the league’s consistent top defenses. After the departure of both Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency in 2019, Judon stepped up to the plate with his best season yet, recording 54 tackles, 9.5 sacks. four forced fumbles, 14 tackles for loss, and 33 quarterback hits, earning his first Pro-Bowl appearance in the process. Judon was Baltimore’s only consistent source of pass rush in 2019, leading to more attention and making his career year even more impressive.

Over his first four years with the Ravens, Judon has played in all but two games (2016), made 186 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, 82 QB hits, eight pass deflections, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 28.5 sacks, making him one of the best edge rushers of the 2016 draft class, despite being a fifth-round pick.

Baltimore now has a year to reach a long-term deal with their best outside linebacker. A trade is still a possibility as well, albeit less likely.