Continued trade rumors involving Matthew Judon a bad sign for Patriots

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots / Billie Weiss/GettyImages

Since the start of the 2024 offseason, the Patriots have been one of the most popular teams involved in hypothesized trades during free agency and the draft, mainly to boost their less-than-exciting offense.

For the most part, the proposals have involved Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf shipping off draft picks for a clear WR1, like Brandon Aiyuk or Tee Higgins, but the conversation has turned to a player who continues to wait for a much-deserved contract extension.

It's an unfortunate turn of events for the rise of trade rumors involving Matthew Judon, the leading pass rusher in New England since his arrival in 2021. He has already established himself as one of the Patriots' all-time greats, as he is already in the top 10 for most sacks in team history, and his impact was even more apparent after he went down with a season-ending injury in 2023.

The defensive line fell apart when Judon tore his bicep against the Cowboys in Week 4. The pass rush became nearly extinct, bringing even more awareness of how crucial Judon is to the defense's success. It seemed to cement the need to extend him beyond the 2024 season, but Wolf is yet to do that despite claiming it was a priority this offseason.

Because it's taking longer than expected with little to no updates regarding the status of contract negotiations, Judon is now the frontrunner in trade rumors for the season ahead, which is not a good sign for the Patriots, who hope to keep a dominant defense for years to come.

Matthew Judon is the subject of more trade rumors amid Patriots contract talks

Although they're just trade proposals, it feels like a situation where if there's smoke, there's fire. To an extent, it could mean there is a high chance of Judon being dealt to another team before or during the 2024 season. Or it could just be wishful thinking from fans of teams needing a defensive makeover.

Regardless, the pass rusher is the subject of another trade article by Bleacher Report, with Alex Ballentine believing the Patriots will be sellers this season, especially after losing a handful of games to start the season.

"Matthew Judon is a marketable pass-rusher and they would save $6.7 million in cap space. Judon is coming off a torn bicep that cost him most of the 2024 campaign, but could hold value with teams if he gets off to a good start."

It's entirely possible that Ballentine is right. The Patriots are in the midst of a rebuild, and one of their most valuable players is Judon. So, if they were interested in trading someone, dangling Judon would give them the most return, which Ballentine believes would be best for the offense.

But at the same time, he has been the most productive EDGE player on the team for the past several years, with nobody becoming a reliable close second. It would be a significant risk for Mayo and Wolf to trade Judon simply because he's a valuable asset, when their defense would almost certainly flounder without him on the field, as it did last year.

On top of his on-the-field production, Judon has become a great locker room leader and mentor to a young defense. That's an invaluable attribute that isn't always easy to find, and who better to mentor a young linebacker/EDGE roster than a guy coming off a 15.5 sack season in 2022?

There will inevitably be a lot for the Patriots to consider, but at this point, trading Judon feels more like a mistake than a good move at the start of Mayo's tenure in New England.

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