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Report: Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon will be more expensive in 2023 than initially thought

Judon’s cap hit recently increased by $500,000.

NFL: DEC 24 Bengals at Patriots Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No player on the New England Patriots’ current roster carries a higher salary cap hit heading into 2023 than Matthew Judon. However, it turns out that the Pro Bowl linebacker will be even more expensive than initially thought.

As reported by salary cap expert Miguel Benzan, Judon getting selected to The Sporting News’ All-Pro team qualified him to earn an incentive in his contract previously considered not likely to be earned (NLTBE). Valued at $500,000, the incentive alters his salary cap impact for the upcoming season.

Judon’s cap number now stands at $18.61 million.

The Patriots’ cap space for 2023, meanwhile, decreased by $1 million: not only will that $500,000 incentive now become likely to be earned (LTBE) for 2023, the previous year’s incentive will also be counted against New England’s books.

According to Benzan’s calculations, and including the recent re-signing of special teams captain Matthew Slater, the Patriots therefore have $32.8 million left to work with — one of the highest numbers in the league still.

Judon, 30, originally arrived in New England in 2021 via a four-year, $54.5 million free agency contract. He has managed to meet expectations since Day 1, proving himself one of the most disruptive defenders in the entire NFL. In 35 games with the Patriots, Judon registered 28 sacks as well as two forced fumbles and two recoveries.

His performance allowed him to earn Pro Bowl nominations in each of his first two seasons as a Patriot; he also was named to that aforementioned All-Pro team.

Last December, the Patriots restructured Judon’s contract to create some immediate cap relief. As a consequence, his salary cap numbers over the final two years of his pact originally increased to $18.11 million and $16.11 million, respectively.

Now, an additional $500,000 will have to be added to Judon’s cap number for the 2023 season.