With all eyes on some of NFL’s big-name free agents, Jacksonville Jaguars star defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has been lost in the mix. Earlier this month, Ngakoue posted a goodbye on social media thanking his fans and the organization while acknowledging that he wouldn’t sign a long term deal with Jacksonville. However, the team decided to use their franchise tag on him anyways. Now, it is looking more and more likely that the player and the team will not be able to reconcile their differences and Ngakoue will be traded. So which teams are showing interest in acquiring Ngakoue?
Pro Football Network’s NFL Insider Ben Allbright is reporting that several teams have inquired about Ngakoue and are interested in making a deal with Jacksonville. Those teams include the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and the New York Jets. The Philadelphia Eagles have also checked in on Ngakoue. But their level of interest is unclear at the moment.
What does the market for Ngakoue look like?
During his career with the Jaguars, Ngakoue has performed at a high level. Ngakoue has not had fewer than eight sacks in a season since his arrival in Jacksonville. Over four seasons, he has amassed 37.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017.
Now that Jacksonville has decided to franchise him, the team looking to sign him will have to pay a hefty price and likely give Ngakoue a long term contract extension. After the tag, Ngakoue’s estimated salary for the 2020 season would be $19.3 million. If he does get traded, this will follow the recent trend of franchising and trading edge rushers, similar to what we saw last year with Dee Ford, Jadeveon Clowney, and Frank Clark.
Without knowing the exact offers being made or the players involved in a potential trade, it is hard to argue which team makes the most sense. However, Ngakoue is turning 25 years old before the start of next season and will be entering his prime. He will improve any defense that he becomes a part of.
The talk of potentially being traded to Seattle has picked up on social media as of late when Ngakoue posted a cryptic picture of what looked to be the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Seattle is currently in contract discussions with Clowney, but if a contract extension becomes too expensive for John Schneider and Pete Carrol, they could look to bring in Ngakoue instead. In a recent mailbag, PFN Senior Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline also reported that Seattle was interested in acquiring Ngakoue.
“I’ve been told by a very good source that the Seahawks would like to acquire Yannick Ngakoue via trade. My sources tell me they believe compensation would include something like a second-round selection and possibly a situation where the Seahawks swap their pick in round one for the Jags pick in the second round.”
From what Allbright has heard, the Jets and Packers are also interested. The Jets have the draft capital to make an enticing offer to Jacksonville and have enough cap space to give Ngakoue a long term extension. The Packers could also use the help, having only registered 41 sacks last season, good for 15th in the NFL. They would need to find a way to shed some salary, however, with only $12 million available at this point.