Jaguars to Use Franchise Tag on Ngakoue, Who Wants Out of Jacksonville
Ngakoue Pressing To Leave Jacksonville
One of the better defensive linemen in all of the NFL says his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars is over after the team has decided to use their franchise tag on their 24-year-old star. Yannick Ngakoue is now pressing for a move away from Jacksonville.
Ngakoue responded to news that the Jags will be placing the franchise tag on him via Twitter, where he said:
“The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I’m thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere. -91”
Ngakoue has been seeking a long-term deal since before last season, resulting in the defensive end sitting out the majority of OTAs and minicamp.
According to reports, the Jaguars offered Ngakoue a deal that would average Ngakoue $19 million a year, but the player wanted $22 million per year. Under the franchise tag, Ngakoue would make $19.3 million in 2020.
Last season, Ngakoue made just $2.02 million despite proving to be among the elite players at his position.
While the team still holds Ngakoue’s rights, the player appears to be dead-set on pushing his way out of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Could Lose Proven Star
While the Jaguars were willing to spend upwards of $22 million per year on Nick Foles, they’re currently unwilling to do so for Ngakoue. Now, the player wants out and has already taken to social media to force Jacksonville’s hand.
Whether Ngakoue decides to sit out until he’s offered a new deal or to force a move elsewhere, the Jaguars will be losing out on immense production if Ngakoue isn’t on the field.
After being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Ngakoue has already recorded the second-most sacks in franchise history with 37.5 in just four seasons. Tony Brackens holds the franchise record with 55 sacks.
A Solid Force
Since entering the league, Ngakoue has forced 14 fumbles, which trails only Chandler Jones (17), Khalil Mack (17), and T.J. Watt (15) over that period.
Last season, Ngakoue set a career-high with 41 tackles, tied a career-high with 13 tackles for a loss, and earned eight sacks.
Ngakoue was selected to the Pro Bowl after his 2017 season in which he recorded 12 sacks and forced six fumbles.
While his defense against the run leaves something to be desired, Ngakoue’s ability to rush opposing quarterbacks made him one of the more valuable free agents heading into this offseason.
While the defensive lineman looks to be a solid force on the line for years to come, Ngakoue, who turns 25 on March 31, is expected to be wearing a different jersey the next time he steps on an NFL field.
Should Jacksonville Let Ngakoue Leave?
Any time a player wants out of a team that still owns that player’s rights, both sides face a unique challenge.
Let’s focus on the Jaguars, who are coming off a 2019 season in which they went 6-10 and finished fourth in the AFC South. Much of Jacksonville’s failures stemmed from quarterback play, as Foles was both injured and then unable to play up to the level of his contract.
Moving On Is The Best Option
While it feels like a six-win team can ill-afford to let a strong defensive contributor leave, the Jags’ best course of action is likely to enter 2020 without Ngakoue on the roster.
Due to the franchise tag, the Jaguars will be able to try and trade Ngakoue if they so choose. If they can get a piece or draft picks in return for the defensive linemen, they should.
We’ve already seen that Ngakoue isn’t afraid of sitting out, as he racked up more than $500,000 in fines as held out for 11 days of training camp. And because of Ngakoue’s deficiencies against the run, Ngakoue may be overpriced even at $19 million per year.
So, rather than not having a disgruntled Ngakoue on or off the field, the Jags’ best course of action is to move on from the player and get something in return, especially as a team that isn’t ready to win right now.