Given the team’s present salary cap restrictions, can the Jacksonville Jaguars sign defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to a contract extension before the start of the season?
The Jaguars need to give Yannick Ngakoue a new contract before the start of full training camp. The question is can it be done? Jaguars fans and some teammates – mainly Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Fournette – are calling for the Jaguars to re-sign Ngakoue. As a fan I find myself saying, “Give him the money. We must sign this guy. Don’t be cheap, sign Yannick.”
However, as a general manager, I must look at the bottom line and it is very minimal. Let’s look at three aspects of this issue. First is the lack of salary cap needed, next is the salaries and contracts of similar players, and finally, how to structure a contract when the team has limited cap space.
The NFL salary cap is a hard cap and all Jaguars contracts must be approved by the league office. This is the current status as reported by spotrac.com.
- Adjusted salary cap – $201,408,733
- Active contracts – $174,997,824
- Dead cap – $23,476,352
- 2018 Rollover – $11,608,733.
Calculations add up to $9,406,322 of additional cap space. Sounds good, but rookie salaries are not included so subtract $8,640,834 from that total. The bottom line here is very limited cap space.
Next, we look at other defensive linemen like Trey Flowers of the Detroit Lions who signed a free agent deal this offseason and could be a barometer for a contract Ngakoue could be offered. Per Sportrac, he is similar in age and ability to the Jaguars star.
The Lions signed him to a 5-year, $90 million contract, with $56 million,000,000 guaranteed. Ngakoue’s current salary is just a bit over $2,000,000.
His projected value is $18,000,000. Yes, Ngakoue is underpaid. Flowers contract gives him a 2019 base salary of $805,000 and a signing bonus of $28,070,000. He has been paid the total signing bonus but it is divided into five years for salary cap purposes.
The Jaguars may also have to look at other pass rushers who received deals over the offseason that would fall in line with the kind of production Ngakoue has had during his three seasons in the NFL. Demarcus Lawrence of Dallas and Frank Clark of Kansas City received new deals in 2019.
That keeps his cap hit for 2019 at only a bit over $6,000,000. His yearly salary increases substantially each year over the next five years.
I finally understand the game. I now see the light. It’s time to sign Ngakoue.
The Jaguars wannabe GM has a plan to sign Ngakoue. First, I must assume that there will be more money available as the team heads to full training camp. If Telvin Smith doesn’t play there will be additional cap space. I give Ngakoue a minimal salary of 900,000 for 2019.
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He gets a $25 million signing bonus which has receives immediately but is prorated over five years. His salary plus the bonus cap hit is around $6,000,000 for 2019.
It must be understood that his substantial salary increases each year and $5,000,000 bonus cap hit could be a problem down the road so I must be sure that he is worth it.
This contract or a similar one can be done so it works in 2019 but, like other deals in the past and present, it can come back to haunt us if things don’t go well. The Bortles contract is killing the Jaguars cap space this year and was not a wise decision by the front office.
There are quite a few weeks before full training camp so no immediate decision must be made. This GM votes to sign him but the Jaguars management may or may not feel the need since he is under contract for 2019 and can be tagged in 2020.