Why Patriots sack master Matt Judon is Belichick’s $56 million bargain

New England Patriots (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

The rest of the NFL sneezed at Bill Belichick’s spending spree in free agency, but all that cash shelled out looks more like a bargain now as the New England Patriots are sitting on top of the AFC East once again. One big reason is the impact of one of their top free agent signings Matt Judon.

When the four-year, $56 million contract was announced, it was a surprise, but oddly Judon wasn’t labeled as one of the top defensive players on the market. But what was underestimated was how Belichick would find a way to utilize his skills and boy has he ever.

Ranked third in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, the dude with the red sleeves has not only helped transform the Patriots’ defense, but he has become a leader on a unit that has really come together during the team’s six-game winning streak.

Matt Judon bring energy and heart to Patriots defensive unit

Like players such as Rodney Harrison, Roosevelt Colvin and more recently Stephon Gilmore, when Belichick spends on a player on defense in free agency, he generally sees the bigger picture and how that player can contribute to the team. Perhaps Judon recognized that when the Patriots came calling in free agency.

Related Story. Matt Judon has 2021 NFL DOPY written all over him. light

According to Judon, he didn’t need any face-to-face meetings with Belichick to know the signing was right. As he told NBC Sports’ Peter King following the team’s 36-13 thrashing of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, when the call came, it was an easy decision.

"“I thought free agency would be like ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ but we went through that legal tampering period, I had a couple ideas where I might go, and then I was working out the day the deals could get done, and I heard nothing,” Judon said, as transcribed by NBC Sports. “Then we had the offer and I had to decide and boom, it was done.”"

As quickly as Matt Judon signed, he became a leader on the team, which has really become the undervalued part of his signing. The Patriots do have a guy opposing offenses now have to fear, but that confidence and leadership he brings to the field has helped the overall defense gel.

Not only are veteran players like Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Lawrence Guy and Dietrich Wise benefitting from the impact of Judon, younger players like Christian Barmore, Ja’Whuan Bentley, J.C. Jackson and Kyle Dugger are rising up and making more of an impact on defense.

Next. New England Patriots: The 10 greatest defensive players of all-time. dark

It all starts with that pressure Judon creates on almost every passing down that has made him worth the money. But it’s the defensive personality he brings to the field that has made him a bargain for Bill Belichick.  All Pro, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Pro Bowl, whatever accolades he earns this season won’t be as valued as leading this Patriots team further than expected.

That is where Belichick and the Patriots hit big.