Ravens

Quick Links

Ravens focused on ‘pretty hard’ task of re-signing pass-rusher Matthew Judon

Ravens focused on ‘pretty hard’ task of re-signing pass-rusher Matthew Judon

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens’ biggest offseason decision likely is Matthew Judon’s expired contract and what to make of his imminent pay raise. 

The choice the Ravens are faced with is to let the team’s best pass-rusher walk in free agency, or to extend him to a long-term deal. Free agency opens on March 18, at which point the Ravens will have to have made a decision on Judon’s future with the organization.

Coach John Harbaugh, while he admitted the challenge of extending one of the team’s best defenders, said the team certainly wants to.

“We’re going to try,” he said. “Haven’t we signed eight of our guys already this year, if we do the count? So there’s no question that’s a priority for us. That’s something that’s really important to us. So we’re going to try and get as many of these guys re-signed as we can and Matt is probably right at the top of the list, for sure.”

Judon finished the season with 9.5 sacks, a career best for the 27-year-old fourth-year pro. In the three years prior, he had seven, eight and four sacks, respectively. He also had a career-high 33 quarterback hits.

Last season, the Ravens lost pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith in free agency to the Packers after he signed a four-year, 66 million dollar contract with 20 million dollars guaranteed. In a bit of a surprise, the Ravens appear to have gotten the short end of the stick on a free agency deal as it relates to Smith.

Smith had a career-high 13.5 sacks and 37 quarterback hits in Green Bay in a breakout year, and if the Ravens want to avoid a repeat of that, they’ll have to shell out for Judon. 

But if the team wants to wait, with younger edge rushers Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser on the roster, the possibility of putting the franchise tag on Judon still exists.

The move would cost the Ravens nearly 20 million dollars for one season, but would ensure they’ve got a No. 1 pass rusher on the roster. 

With an estimated nine picks in the NFL Draft there’s room to add talent in the front seven, but the Ravens would likely have to trade up to acquire a blue-chip edge talent.

The decision with Judon will affect the rest of the organization’s offseason plans, as a long-term contract restricts what else the Ravens can do across the roster in free agency and into the draft. 

Whether or not the team decides to let him walk, extend him long-term or slap the franchise tag on him, the decision will have ripple effects throughout the team for the 2020 season.

“There’s a lot of things that can go into that, as we all know, the business part of it that agents and general managers deal with back and forth,” Harbaugh continued. “I’ll stay out of that, probably Matt will stay out of that too. We’ll let everybody do their jobs. Our goal will be to have Matt back, that’s what we try to do.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ravens make stadium lights red, white and blue to honor front-line workers

Ravens make stadium lights red, white and blue to honor front-line workers

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Ravens shifted from their signature purple stadium lights to show the front-line workers how much they appreciate what they're doing.

The incredible gesture is just one of many by the organization.

The Ravens and The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation combined to support four non-profits and have donated $1 million to help aid the fight against coronavirus, the team revealed in a statement on March 20. 

The four organizations are the Fund for Educational Excellence, the United Way of Central Maryland, the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Maryland Food Bank.

"We want to help those in our community who are most affected by the COVID-19 crisis," Ravens president Dick Cass said, according to a statement through the team. "We chose to donate through these four organizations because we are confident they will apply our funds quickly and directly to people in need.”

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Derek Wolfe always wanted to be a Raven — now he gets his chance

Derek Wolfe always wanted to be a Raven — now he gets his chance

New Ravens defensive lineman Derek Wolfe has wanted to be a Raven at three separate times during his career. 

The first time was before he was drafted in 2012 when he thought the Ravens might pick him. The second time was before the trade deadline in the 2019 season, when he debated asking Broncos general manager John Elway for a trade to Baltimore. 

The third time was the charm. After the Ravens’ signing of Michael Brockers fell through, they moved quickly to sign Wolfe to a one-year contract. 

“I'm extremely happy,” Wolfe said. “Everything happens for a reason. When things are supposed to happen, they do, and I always felt like I would fit into that organization really well.”

Wolfe thought he’d missed his chance to be a Raven when the signing of Brocks was announced at the beginning of free agency. After the deal wasn’t completed, though, he and his agent moved quickly to get him to Baltimore. 

Once a deal looked possible with the Ravens, Wolfe’s only focus was to get to Baltimore by any means necessary.

“I said, ‘I really don't care about the money,’” Wolfe said he told his agent. “‘At this point, I just want to get on that team. That's the team I want to get on, I want to be on.’

Wolfe’s contract is worth $3 million guaranteed, though he’s eying a bit longer of a stay in Baltimore.

“I feel like if I can come in there and prove myself, then they'll extend me for a few years, and I could be a part of the organization for more than just one year,” Wolfe said. “I'm just going to stick to the plan and trust the process and hope that it all works out for me,” Wolfe said. “I really would love to bring another ring to the city – help bring a ring to the city.”

He’s coming off a career season in Denver where he registered seven sacks in 12 games — a year that was cut short because of a dislocated elbow. 

Injuries have been a bit of a bugaboo for Wolfe, who has played 16 games in a season just three times in his eight-year career and just once in the last five years. While the past isn’t kind to Wolfe’s injury history, he’s confident he’s turned a corner when it comes to health. 

“It's been a bumpy road, but for the most part I've actually been pretty healthy,” Wolfe explained. “These injuries just come...It was the same injury that was nagging, and I finally got that surgery that cleared it up. I dislocated my elbow, obviously, having the best season of my career, showing that I have a ton of football left, and then I go out there and dislocate my elbow. And I think that hurt me.”

Not only confident about his health, but he’s also got high hopes for his new defensive line, too. 

“It was just like, ‘You know what, man? I think we can have the best defensive line in the league, for sure, and we could break records,” Wolfe said. “We could break the rushing record – yards per rush, stuff like that.’ Those are the kind of goals that I like to set.”

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: