Patriots Outside linebacker Matthew Judon finally participated in multiple team drills on day three of training camp.
Speculation about injury or a potential hold out because of contract negotiations emerged during the first two days of camp as Judon sat sidelined. The 30-year-old veteran entered his 8th season in the NFL, and third in New England attributing this slower pace to adjusting his workload during Friday’s post practice press conference.
“Right now we’re just working me and the training staff and the coaches to where when I do practice I am at a good pace,” he said. “I can move fast the whole practice, so it’s nothing like that. It’s more working on my conditioning, working on running, and making sure I am where I need to be.”
Patriots fans can somewhat be rest assured that Judon wants to remain in New England, but only if his contract negotiations work out. Judon discussed the changing market in the NF as of late, a factor Greg Bedard said motivated Judon’s hold in entering camp. Judon shied away from discussing the contract situation in detail, though didn’t deny it as a factor, Bedard saying talks over renegotiating his salary did not go well.
“I’m happy to be here man,” Judon said. “I’m definitely not gonna talk about contracts with y’all [the media]. Y’all some snitches, but I’m happy to be here. I’m happy I’m a Patriot. Wherever that goes it goes. The market changes everyday. We’ve seen it in the first day of training camp. A whole bunch of people got paid. The market changes everyday. But I don’t wanna talk about contracts with y’all.”
Earlier this week Judon said he wanted to retire a Patriot and repeated that sentiment on Friday. With two days of training camp over and Judon spent most of his time on the conditioning fields that are usually reserved for rehabbing injured players, worries emerged that Judon might be hurt or sitting out over a new contract. He participated more extensively, participating in team drills and speaking excitedly about the upcoming season. Judon took several breaks in-between those settings kneeling along the sideline without his helmet on.
Judon wants to finish his career in New England despite the unfinished business surrounding his contract, though he acknowledged that factor by saying it isn’t up to him. Judon clearly feels at home with the Patriots, but only time will tell if his current contract allows him to stay. He has two years left on this deal in what he would likely argue is now a low price for a pass rusher who recorded 15.5 sacks last season, tied for fourth most in the NFL.
“It’s football. This is what I love to do,” he said. “My comfort with the staff, with my coaches and where I’m at… Everything has made it to where I want to stay here for the rest of my career. But if that’s not in the cards that’s not in the cards.”
Judon is a four time Pro-Bowler, and over the past two seasons he accumulated 28 sacks and 53 quarterback hits. His current contract is worth $54.5-million over four years, putting him in a tie for 22nd among edge rusher salaries.
The one concern that came out of Judon’s press conference on Friday was that although he feels like he wants to be in New England, he also felt like that when he was a rookie, and at other points during his time with Baltimore. Judon signed with the Patriots in 2021.
Bill Belichick also weighed in on Matthew Judon’s situation during Friday’s training camp, in true Belichick fashion. When asked about Judon not participating in the full practices lately, he shrugged, providing far more optimism regarding a new deal for safety Kyle Dugger with his comments earlier in the week.
“We have different players that are at different stages of participation,” he said multiple times.
Whether or not Judon negotiates a new contract remains uncertain, but day three of training camp provided some hope he’ll participate anyway. Judon is day-to-day and working up to his full potential when it comes to conditioning, he says once the pads come on, he won’t hold back.
“It’s full go,” he said.