The Jaguars need to pay DE Yannick Ngakoue

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 11: Yannick Ngakoue /

The Jacksonville Jaguars must figure out the quickest way to sign fourth-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to a contract extension before training camp.

I wouldn’t be as concerned about Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue leaving the team during their offseason voluntary workout program if the front office had already signed the defensive end to a contract extension. Now, the former Maryland star becomes another major question mark as the team continues with Phase 2 of their offseason program without another key component on defense nowhere near TIAA Bank Field.

Ngakoue becomes the fourth Jaguars player since the team signed quarterback Nick Foles to a four-year, $88-million contract this offseason. He could also become one disgruntled player if the team goes into the regular season without trying to work out a deal that keeps him in black and teal for at least the next four seasons.

It’s difficult to think of this team moving forward without No. 91 as the cornerstone of this pass rush after Calais Campbell is no longer with the organization. It’s also hard to think of Jacksonville’s coaching staff not salivating over the idea of rookie Josh Allen and Ngakoue giving opposing quarterbacks nightmares for the foreseeable future.

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We really don’t know why Yannick Ngakoue suddenly left the team’s facility other than messages on his Twitter page and the notion that the Jaguars have a huge decision to make. Speaking from a fan’s perspective, there is no decision to be made other than how many zeros are attached to the end of the contract.

"As Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union wrote on Friday, “Once the 2018 season ended, the Jaguars knew signing Yannick Ngakoue to a massive contract extension before the start of training camp had to be a priority.“He’s not only in position to earn the first $100 million payday in franchise history, but any perception of delaying the inevitable is just asking for trouble.”"

Yes, trouble with a capital “T”. You don’t see elite pass rushers in the NFL walk in free agency. They are too valuable. And based on contracts offered to both Frank Clark and Demarcus Lawrence, who received five years and $105 million each from Kansas City and Dallas, how can you not think the man with 29.5 sacks in his first three years in the league is just as good, if not better and worth a hell of a lot more in terms of value to the Jaguars.

Yannick Ngakoue is a man who deserves to get paid.

The Jaguars announced prior to the first night of the NFL Draft they had picked up Jalen Ramsey’s fifth-year option that will pay him roughly $13.7 million in 2020. Ngakoue does not have that luxury. He wasn’t a first-round pick in 2016, but he has played like once since day one for this organization.

Ngakoue is scheduled to make $2.025 million this season, the last of his rookie deal.

It was mentioned by other sports writers this is a move of leverage. It might be the case. But as Ramsey continues to train for the upcoming season as he usually does in Tennessee and no one has heard from Telvin Smith since the end of last season, the news of Ngakoue’s sudden departure is a more troublesome issue.

These workouts that we speak of are voluntary – without me rehashing the definition of what that means by the NFLPA. Ngakoue has every right to leave and do his own thing until everything becomes mandatory.

We as Jaguars fans hope this is about making a statement that ends at training camp. If not, we will wait to see which side blinks first. This isn’t something that can drag out too long without affecting this coming season. With the Jaguars coming off a 5-11 record and changes made on both sides of the ball, the last thing everyone needs is more distractions.

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We have seen too many of them with this organization in the past. Yannick Ngakoue should get paid, it’s really just a question of when and how much.