Yannick Ngakoue Trade Rumors: Jaguars 'Extremely Close' to Dealing Star DE

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars might be making progress toward granting Yannick Ngakoue's wish.

The Athletic's Michael Lombardi reported Wednesday the Jaguars are "extremely close" to trading the 2017 Pro Bowler within the next few days. Lombardi appeared to indicate a second-round pick might be heading Jacksonville's way.

Michael Lombardi @mlombardiNFL

According to NFL sources, Jacksonville is extremely close to trading Yannick Ngakoue today or tomorrow, have a firm offer in place--(hearing a two). looks like this holdout will be over soon and Jacksonville will get more picks for their tanking....

The team placed the franchise tag on Ngakoue in March, a little more than a week after he said he didn't want to sign a long-term extension.

Yannick Ngakoue @YannickNgakoue

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

Spotrac's Michael Ginnitti provided some more context on the situation:

Spotrac @spotrac

Ngakoue will need to sign his $17.8M franchise tag in order to process a trade, essentially providing him a no trade clause. Jadeveon Clowney was traded Aug. 31st last summer, w/ the #Texans retaining 1/2 of his tag. Will the #Jaguars need to follow suit? https://t.co/xWxALWXICf

Ngakoue finished with 39 total tackles, eight sacks and one interception in 15 games last season.

The July 15 deadline to sign him to a multiyear extension has passed, so he can't hammer out the terms on a new deal until after the 2020 season ends.

As a result, Jacksonville may have to settle for a lesser return than it might have received before the deadline. The same thing happened with the Houston Texans when they dealt Jadeveon Clowney around this time last year.

In March, Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson questioned whether Ngakoue represented a solid investment:

"Ngakoue's problem is twofold: Firstly, the season that showed his elite potential as a pass-rusher was 2017, and he hasn't really come close to those heights since. That year, he had an 88.2 PFF pass-rushing grade and notched 82 total pressures including the playoffs. Since then, he hasn't been within 10 grading points of that high mark and has registered pressure at a much lower rate. Secondly, Ngakoue wants no part of defending the run. Admittedly, that has never been less relevant, but at some point it's bad enough that it is an issue, and Ngakoue has never had a PFF grade north of 60.0 against the run, with his first season in the league earning one of just 29.5."

The Jaguars at least have a strong incentive to move the 25-year-old since he has made it clear he wants out.

As Lombardi alluded to, Jacksonville is likely going to finish near the bottom of the league.

The franchise has steadily dissembled what was once one of the NFL's best defenses. It ranked 29th in Football Outsiders' DVOA last year. 

On offense, Gardner Minshew II is the clear starting quarterback after Nick Foles was traded to the Chicago Bears. This year is basically an audition for Minshew to see whether he can be the long-term solution.

Flipping Ngakoue for a valuable draft pick or two aligns with Jacksonville's priorities in the short term.