The New England Patriots' offseason work has just begun.
The Patriots already have agreed to contracts with tight end Jonnu Smith and defensive tackle Davon Godchaux since the NFL's free-agent tampering window opened Monday at 12 p.m. ET, per reports.
Matthew Judon is next, it appears. The former Baltimore Ravens edge rusher has agreed to a significant free-agent contract with the Patriots in free agency, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
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A two-time Pro Bowler in 2019 and 2020, Judon has 34.5 career sacks over five NFL seasons and is one of the league's top free-agent pass rushers. The 28-year-old missed two games last season due to COVID-19 but prior to that hadn't missed a contest since his rookie season in Baltimore.
Judon provides an immediate boost to a lackluster Patriots front seven that ranked 26th in the NFL in sacks last season. Pending free agents Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Deatrich Wise and John Simon accounted for nearly half of that sack total in 2020, so adding a top-tier pass rusher makes sense for New England if it can't retain everyone in that group.
The Patriots reportedly are making a significant investment in Judon by paying him $16 million per year over the first two seasons. But they entered free agency with nearly $70 million in cap space and appear willing to spend after last year's disappointing 7-9 effort.