We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.

Reported deal: Four years/$56 million with $32 guaranteed over the first two years

The Patriots aren’t done with big splashes before free agency officially opens as they agreed to terms with former Baltimore Ravens pass rusher Matt Judon. New England desperately needed pass rush help — about as much as they did pass-catching help — and Judon should immediately be able to bring that.

Last season, Judon was fifth among edge rushers in pressure rate according to Sports Info Solutions. Interestingly, Chase Winovich was first, but the Patriots had little pass rush help behind him. New England ranked 31st as a team in Pass Rush Win rate, according to ESPN.

Judon hasn’t always been the type of player to step up on the line and win one-on-one, but his style of play can perfectly fit in with what the Patriots want to do. As a standup EDGE in Baltimore’s defense, Judon only rushed on 72% of his pass snaps in 2020. His ability to drop back can New England help disguise looks and blitzes before the snap.

The $14 million average is under what Judon just cost with the franchise tag for Baltimore in 2020 ($16 million). But NFL Network’s Tom Pelissario reported the deal comes with $32 million over the first two seasons and Adam Schefter reported the deal with $32 million in guarantees. That should leave the deal as a two-year/$32 million contract with an additional two years at $24 million as a team option. That’s quite the structure for a team that has cap space now. The $16 million average over the next two seasons will be as if Judon plays the tag for the next two years. It’s not nearly a bank or market-setting price. 

Judon will turn 29 years old in August and the first two years of the deal will bring him to age-31. That’s more than enough value for a player who fits into exactly what the Patriots like to do on defense. With Winovich and the return of many opt-outs, New England’s defense could look closer to the 2019 version than the well-below average 2020 unit.

Grade: B