Jerod Mayo Downplays Matthew Judon’s Absence From OTAs

Veteran Patriots LB Matthew Judon has been noticeably absent from this year's OTAs. Nevertheless, HC Jerod Mayo is encouraging the fanbase not to look too deep into things.
Patriots HC Jerod Mayo insists that LB Matthew Judon's absence from OTAs isn't a big deal.
Patriots HC Jerod Mayo insists that LB Matthew Judon's absence from OTAs isn't a big deal. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots began their organized team activities (OTAs) on Monday, offering the fanbase its first real opportunity to see how the 2024 roster is shaping up. While several players have already impressed the coaching staff and fans alike, one noticeably absent name has been Matthew Judon.

The veteran linebacker's future in New England has come into question this offseason due to a potential contract dispute. According to Spotrac, Judon carries a $6.5 million base salary for the 2024 NFL season, which you can argue is less than a player of his caliber should be making.

So, you can't blame fans for being concerned when Judon failed to make an OTA appearance to begin the week. Having said that, Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo insists that there's no reason to be concerned.

Patriots News: Mayo Provides Judon OTAs Update

According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Mayo told reporters on Monday that Judon's absence "isn't unusual." The new Patriots HC labeled the veteran defender as a "true professional" and that he's been "in and out" of voluntary activities for the last few seasons.

Mayo isn't wrong as Judon has indeed sat out of voluntary workouts in the past. You only have to go back to 2022 for when the former Grand Valley State produced sat out of OTAs before re-joining the Patriots for the franchise's annual minicamp.

The truth is that Judon, who's turning 32 in August, is playing it safe after injuries derailed his 2023 season. The four-time Pro-Bowler looked like he was on his way to another career year last year before tearing his biceps against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, capping off his eighth NFL campaign at just four games.

The encouraging thing is that Judon looked good before his season was derailed. After finishing ninth in 2022 Defensive Player of the Year voting, the ex-Laker had racked up 10 solo tackles, 4.0 sacks, nine quarterback hits, and his second career safety through 184 defensive snaps.

Despite their season-long struggles, the defense was actually one of the Patriots' stronger areas last season. Hopefully, a fully healed Judon can help them return to or above that level this fall. After all, New England is a better team when he's playing.

Oddsmakers already have high expectations for the accomplished LB when he returns to the gridiron in September. As the offseason months continue, Judon is currently tied for the 16th-best odds (+6000) to be named the 2024 NFL Comeback Player of the Year on DraftKings Sportsbook.

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