Patriots ‘Cannot Afford’ To Let Star Defender Matthew Judon Leave

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All the attention isn’t on rookie quarterback Drake Maye with the New England Patriots in the middle of their offseason program.

There are also eyes watching a potential contract situation with star edge rusher Matthew Judon.

Judon, 31, is entering the final year of his four-year deal and might want a reworked contract — something he and the Patriots did last offseason — with the four-time Pro Bowler set to have a $6.5 million base salary this upcoming season, per Over The Cap. Judon wasn’t present for last Monday’s voluntary organized team activities session open to the media, which drew plenty of speculation that he was disgruntled over his contract. But he vowed he would be in attendance for next month’s mandatory minicamp.

During the latest episode of NESN’s “Foxboro Rush” podcast, co-hosts George Balekji and Travis Thomas discussed the uncertainty of Judon’s future with New England and why the Patriots should explore all options to retain him.

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“My guess is they’ll figure out a deal with this guy. Probably short-term,” Thomas said. “But even if not, franchise him. I hate to say it and I know players hate it, but you cannot afford in this new regime to lose a Matthew Judon. You just can’t. He’s your most consistent defensive player. I understand there’s been some recent injuries, but I think until you see him play and he consistently gets hurt, which we have not seen, that shouldn’t be a concern. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

The backend of the top 10 highest-paid edge rushers makes just over $20 million per year, which Thomas thinks is what Judon should make. Balekji could see a three-year, $46 million deal with $40 million guaranteed being amenable to both sides.

The Patriots have had no issue throwing money at its own players to keep them around this offseason and perhaps Judon is next in line.

You can catch all episodes of “Foxboro Rush” on its YouTube Page.

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