Patriots Now Exploring Veteran Extension After First Free Agency Wave

The New England Patriots are reportedly exploring an extension with a veteran defender after the first wave of free agency.
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (R) speaks to head coach
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (R) speaks to head coach / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Despite entering free agency as one of the league's richest teams in terms of cap space, the New England Patriots haven't spent big on outside additions to this point. Instead, New England has prioritized retaining key players who were set to test the market, including giving an offensive lineman three years and up to $58 million on his next deal.

With most notable veterans now off the board, it seems the Patriots are turning their focus inward once again.

ESPN's Mike Reiss touched on the future of Matthew Judon for the 2024 season in Foxborough. He noted the Pats and Judon have "begun to preliminarily explore" an extension to keep him around.

Judon is currently playing out the final leg of a four-year deal he signed with New England in 2021 as a free agent. He proved to be more than worth the money over the first two seasons, racking up 28.0 sacks and 53 QB hits as a playmaker for this defensive front.

Unfortunately, a biceps injury quickly dashed any hopes of another strong campaign in 2023. The veteran suited up for four contests before hitting injured reserve and undergoing surgery, eventually knocking him out for the rest of the year.

That injury will surely impact negotiations between the four-time Pro Bowler and the team this offseason. Less because of the actual ailment but more of the impact it could have on him moving forward. After all, the Patriots haven't seen him return to the field since it happened, so there's no telling how effective he'll be post-surgery.

There's also the fact Judon will be 32 years old by the time the preseason is underway. Age is a major concern for any highly-paid star, especially one coming off a major injury.

Signing Judon to an extension now though, at a potential slight discount, may turn out to be a shrewd move if he regains his 2021-22 form.

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