Will Josh Allen impact the Jaguars re-signing Yannick Ngakoue?
By David Levin
After watching rookie Josh Allen on Thursday night, will the Jaguars use his ability as leverage in offering a new deal to Yannick Ngakoue?
There is a picture from my friend, Logan Bowles prior to the Jaguars game against the Miami Dolphins of both Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen walking toward the playing field.
It’s an intense photo – two young pass rushers with their mind of the game and the first chance both players would be on the field together in black and teal this coming season. The Jaguars, the fan base and the organization hope this is a tandem that will become one of the best in the NFL for the next several years.
Unfortunately, it might not turn out that way. After watching Allen tear apart the Dolphins offensive line in the first quarter and show dominance the likes of a true pass rusher and game-changer, did the way the Jaguars view Ngakoue’s future in Jacksonville change? Probably not, but it did give analysts and writers pause for a moment.
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Having both players on the field this season will be a true benefit for this roster. Whether it can be a futuristic certainty still remains to be seen. Allen was the star of the night on Thursday. Ngakoue was just there and that might be another issue when it comes time to decide on a new deal for the fourth-year player from Maryland.
"“Nobody from the Jaguars will want to touch this topic, but Josh Allen’s superb athletic performance as a pass-rusher and run-stopper in Thursday’s 22-7 preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins likely only reinforces the front office’s position to not up the ante to sign Yannick Ngakoue to a contract extension,” writes Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union."
He’s right in that the rookie could continue his push to be one of the better pass rushers in the game in his first season, which could also complicate the contract conversation between the front office and Ngakoue’s agent. But instead of thinking that if the team loses their former Pro Bowler who has had 29.5 sacks in three seasons, it would be okay because the Jaguars drafted Allen – as some have suggested – wouldn’t having both young stars on the team better for business?
With this potentially being Calais Campbell’s final season in a Jacksonville jersey, the answer to that question is a resounding, “YES”.
Allen might be a more complete player, having spent time on the line as an edge rusher and playing outside linebacker at Kentucky before moving on to the NFL. For everything Ngakoue is, there is still room for work to become a more well-rounded defensive end.
"“While Ngakoue relies heavily on his pass-rushing skills, Allen (6-foot-5, 262 pounds) makes the Jaguars’ defense more effective because his strength and knack for getting to the ball provide more versatility,” Frenette adds. “He’s a chess piece defensive coordinator Todd Wash can use in several ways, including as a linebacker hybrid in a 3-4 look. Those options were evident when Wash opened the Miami game using five defensive linemen.”"
No one on this team plays with the same kind of intensity as Ngakoue – and that includes cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Allen is the new puzzle piece that fits nicely into the Jaguars defensive scheme and gives head coach Doug Marrone more opportunities to win football games.
Ngakoue told the media upon his return to the team prior to the Jaguars trip to Baltimore, the contract negotiations are now out of his hands and he will continue to play with the same kind of effort he has displayed the past three seasons. Allen is just starting to play at an NFL level. The team could use both players are their full potential.
But you have to wonder if the increased play of Allen, which looked really good against the Dolphins on Thursday night, makes the team’s front office wonder if they can go into the 2020 season without Ngakoue and still get the same return from Allen who will a year older in a system that seems to cater to his strengths?