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Ravens apply franchise tag to Matthew Judon

Matthew Judon has been named the Baltimore Ravens’ franchise player for the 2020 season.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon reacts after a sack in the third quarter against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens aren’t letting another quality pass rusher slip through their hands. The team announced Friday that it is applying a $16.2 million franchise tag to linebacker Matthew Judon ahead of the 2020 season. The Ravens learned their lesson after letting Za’Darius Smith leave after the 2018 season and still have their top pass rusher for at least one more season.

Judon led Baltimore with 9.5 sacks in 2019. He also ranked fifth in total tackles (54) on the team while notching 33 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles en route to his first Pro Bowl selection.

The Ravens were top six against the run and the pass last season, so they can’t afford to let one of their defense’s most productive members walk away. Coach John Harbaugh said Judon was at the top of Baltimore’s list for players the team wants to re-sign, so a long-term deal could be coming soon.