Baltimore Ravens Could Pull Off Blockbuster Trade With Patriots

Matthew Judon, Baltimore Ravens
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Baltimore Ravens actually look to pull off a blockbuster trade with the New England Patriots before the start of the 2024 NFL season?

It is a new day for the rebuilding Patriots, and it is one that doesn’t include legendary quarterback Tom Brady or longtime head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick. That means they need to build out for the future instead of trying to cling to some sort of respectability right now.

The Patriots haven’t been respectable for most of the last four years since Brady left. They made the playoffs once in 2021 when then-rookie QB Mac Jones made the Pro Bowl and looked promising. But last season they won just four games, which was their worst finish since 1992.

With a potential rookie franchise QB in Drake Maye and virtually no established talent on board, there is no real reason for the Patriots to hold on to an aging star such as Matthew Judon.

Judon is entering the final year of his contract, and after planning to hold out of offseason activities, he is going to attend New England’s mandatory minicamp. But that hasn’t stopped trade rumors involving him from flying.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report feels the Baltimore Ravens should send New England two fifth-round draft picks in 2025 and 2026 for Judon and two seventh-round selections in 2025.

“From the veteran’s perspective, it makes a whole lot more sense to be chasing a ring with a contender in the twilight of his career than hanging around on a roster that isn’t ready to compete,” wrote Ballentine.

“A reunion with the Baltimore Ravens, who drafted him in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, would make sense for all parties involved. The Ravens need some proven production on the perimeter. David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh are potential breakout players, but they still could use another threat on the outside to replace Jadeveon Clowney.”

“The parameters for this deal are similar to the one that brought Za’Darius Smith to Cleveland last season. Judon is relatively close to the same age and had 28 combined sacks in 2021 and 2022.”

The Ravens had the NFL’s best record last season, but they fell short in the AFC Championship Game to the Kansas City Chiefs. While they have brought in star running back Derrick Henry to augment their offense, they are, at their heart, a defensive-minded, pound-and-ground squad.

While they have a star defensive lineman in Justin Madubuike and a Pro Bowl inside linebacker in Roquan Smith, they have holes elsewhere on their front seven. As Ballentine noted, Judon started his career with the Ravens, and he spent his first five seasons there. During that time, he made the Pro Bowl twice.

The Ravens are trying to win the Super Bowl championship as soon as possible. That means being aggressive on the trade market and taking advantage of an opportunity when one presents itself.

Meanwhile, by trading Judon, the Patriots could clear salary cap space. They already have tons of cap space, but by trading Judon, who has a cap hit of nearly $15 million for 2024 according to spotrac.com, they can position themselves even better to be major players on the free agent market moving forward.

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