Yannick Ngakoue Free Agency Best Fits: Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants Are All Options

    Yannick Ngakoue's best free agency fits all involve him taking a backseat to entrenched starters. But a part-time role is his best fit as a player.

    Things don’t always progress linearly. The pressure for NFL athletes is to get better every single season they put together. But the reality is much more grueling than that. When we’re discussing the 1% of the 1%’s 1%, slight schematic or philosophy changes can derail a player’s production. That is why finding good Yannick Ngakoue’s best free agency fits is so important.

    Ngakoue is talented, but he’s a situation and scheme-dependent player. Although he has never played under 650 snaps in a season, he should be playing closer to 400. Because playing Ngakoue as one of your starters on the edge is doing him and your defense a disservice.

    A player does not need to start to provide the most value to the team.

    Yannick Ngakoue’s Free Agency Best Fits

    The former Jaguars, Vikings, Ravens, Raiders, and Colts pass rusher is exactly that. Ngakoue is a professional pass rusher. Whether it be a Euro-step or hanging cross chop, converting speed-to-power, or slicing across the face of a tackle on a slant, the seven-year veteran can be a menace to opposing quarterbacks.

    But Ngakoue being a competent run defender is like Gretchen Wieners making fetch a thing. It’s never going to happen, so why even try it?

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    Ngakoue needs to go to a defensive coordinator that can use his craftiness as a weapon on the defensive front. But he also needs to go as a rotational pass-rush specialist and not an every-down player.

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    A reunion with the Jacksonville Jaguars shouldn’t be outside the realm of possibilities. Jacksonville struggled getting home against opposing QBs. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Jaguars finished 28th in sack rate, 23rd in sacks per game, but sixth in pressure rate.

    Even though Ngakoue hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations of his previous contracts, he’s never had a season of fewer than eight sacks in his whole career. And while that’s partially due to his abilities as a sack artist, part of it is because he’s a fierce competitor with a motor that never quits. He’s also quite adept at forcing fumbles via strip-sacks, which is quite a fine art when rushing off the edge with speed.

    Bringing Ngakoue back to play in a rotational role alongside Josh Allen and Travon Walker would be a nice match. Nobody on Jacksonville had more than seven sacks a season ago.

    Miami Dolphins

    Andrew Van Ginkel and Melvin Ingram are both free agents. Currently, there is effectively nobody to rotate into the pass-rushing lineup. With a flurry of aggressive moves being made by Chris Grier over the past two offseasons, adding Ngakoue as a somewhat expensive third rusher wouldn’t be an egregious investment.

    With the pieces they’ve put into place on the back end, having as dangerous a NASCAR front as possible for third downs could cause a turnover frenzy.

    MORE: Miami Dolphins Free Agency — David Long Signing Gives Vic Fangio Everything He Needs

    Additionally, the fronts Vic Fangio uses are a perfect fit for Ngakoue, who can stand up and rush from a two-point stance where he’s most comfortable. This would also allow Bradley Chubb to bump inside and play with agility and power against interior linemen.

    Dallas Cowboys

    Dallas may not want to use their available salary cap space to bring Ngakoue in, but the fit with Dan Quinn and the current roster would be outstanding. Few defensive coaches in the NFL know how to dial pressures up as well as Quinn, and seeing Ngakoue on the same side as Demarcus Lawrence or Micah Parsons could be a nightmare-inducing scene for opposing linemen and quarterbacks.

    However, Sam Williams and Dorance Armstrong are both serviceable rotational players, and there’s a chance that Williams can develop into even more than that. Therefore, even though the fit feels great, it’s unlikely Dallas would earmark that money for a position of strength like that.

    New York Giants

    Joe Schoen wasn’t shy during the NFL Combine, and he wasn’t lying when he said, “We can actually afford it. We’re not shopping for minimum players anymore. So, even players like that that can be really good depth players will make us that much better.”

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    New York can spend money on those necessary depth pieces, even if they have Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux as their starting edges. While the secondary could still use an influx of talent to fit Wink Martindale’s aggressive coverage tendencies, an overwhelming pass rush can help soothe pain on the back end.

    Carolina Panthers

    Things will look a bit different now that Ejiro Evero is in town as the Panthers’ defensive coordinator. I’d expect to see Carolina’s EDGEs standing up quite a bit and for odd fronts to start becoming more of a norm.

    Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos are the entrenched starters, and Ngakoue brings a nice yin to Gross-Matos’ yang. With so many young and talented names strewn along the defensive side of the ball for Carolina, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to bring in a veteran presence who also provides at least eight sacks in every season he’s played.

    While Ngakoue has never dropped into coverage a ton throughout his career, he could do so sparingly as Evero disguises pressures. When discussing the advantages of odd fronts, Evero said, “You don’t know where that extra rusher is coming from. It’s that extra level that the offense needs to grow through to figure out what you’re doing.”

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