With outside linebacker Matthew Judon and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue reportedly headed to a pair of AFC rivals, the Ravens are facing a makeover at edge rusher.
Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser is a pending free agent, and the Ravens could also lose versatile defensive end Jihad Ward this offseason.
Judon, a Pro Bowl selection each of the past two years, became the Ravens’ first unrestricted free agent to agree to a new deal elsewhere this offseason. The NFL’s legal tampering period opened at noon Monday, and contracts can be finalized when the league year begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Judon played last season under the franchise tag, on a one-year deal worth $16.8 million, but the Ravens declined to tag him again this offseason. The 28-year-old had 9 ½ sacks in 2019 and six last season, and posted 31 and 32 quarterback pressures, respectively.
According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Judon is one of six players with a minimum of 200 pass rushes to generate a pressure rate above 10% and a sack rate above 2% in each of the past three seasons.
A fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State, Judon started 49 games and appeared in 76 total over five seasons in Baltimore. He developed into one of the Ravens’ more versatile defenders, capable of setting the edge as a run defender, creating pressure off the edge and dropping into coverage at outside linebacker. Judon was also a beloved teammate in Baltimore.
Ngakoue came to the Ravens under much different circumstances. During the bye week, the Ravens sent a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for Ngakoue, a 2017 Pro Bowl selection, in hopes of complementing their star-studded secondary with bookend pass rushers. Ngakoue had his moments (three sacks in 11 games, including the playoffs) but played just 20 snaps in the team’s season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round.
However, advanced stats show that he was applying more pressure and getting to the quarterback at a faster rate than during his time in Minnesota. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Ngakoue trails only Aaron Donald in pressures in since entering the NFL in 2016, and has generated more pressures than any Raiders player in each of the past four seasons.