Yannick Ngakoue remains on market as key piece
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to trade Yannick Ngakoue at some point. Just not yet.
The 24-year-old edge rusher is slated for free agency after this season. Right now, Ngakoue is on the franchise tag with Jacksonville but since he hasn’t signed the tender, he remains a holdout. Yet, also because he’s not under contract, the Jaguars can’t fine him for missing time.
This all comes after Ngakoue publicly demanded a trade in the spring. On Wednesday, former general manager and The Athletic contributor Michael Lombardi tweeted Jacksonville was close to dealing Ngakoue. Lombard later added the team centered in the rumors was the New York Jets. However, only minutes later, Jets beat writer Manish Mehta dispelled there rumors, saying Gang Green wasn’t close on a trade.
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On Thursday, Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said the team wasn’t close to a deal and remains in the same position, per CBS Sports.
“Obviously we’ve had discussions with teams, but as of 1:00 (p.m. ET) today, that report was pretty erroneous and I guess there’s a couple others that followed up on that. I don’t know the person that tweeted that, but obviously he didn’t pay very close attention to detail. Obviously we’re working with the player, his new agents, and trying to come to a resolution for everybody.”
Ngakoue continues to be the best available player on the trade market. He hasn’t yet entered the prime of his career despite playing four seasons in the NFL. He’s racked up 37.5 sacks and only missed one game as a Jagaur, showcasing both the production and durability of a star.
With Ngakoue remains available, there are a litany of teams who should be calling Caldwell and offering a multitude of Day 2 and 3 picks, or a first-round choice and some change depending on their 2020 outlook.
For the New York Jets, second and third-round picks would be fair compensation for their best pass-rusher since the days of John Abraham. For the Philadelphia Eagles, it might take a first-round pick. The problem for Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman? He’s literally $80 million over the projected cap for 2021.
With three weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, Jacksonville has time to make a deal while it has some leverage. We’ll see if the Jaguars decide to move on from the disgruntled Ngakoue, or continue down their road of hardball.