What is the message Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is trying to send to the front office and the fan base?
After listening to Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell talk about the need to keep defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on the roster one way or another, I cannot for some reason, get the lyrics of the song by Blondie out of my head.
It’s going to be one of those situations where the front office continues to pursue a player who has used social media to be as cryptic as he can about his future in the NFL. And according to his Twitter account, it looks as though he has a message to the Jaguars and the fan base here in town about his future coming Monday.
Everyone stay tuned.
While Ngakoue hasn’t been shy in trying to get a message across the great NFL pipeline, just like Jalen Ramsey did prior to his decision to ask for a trade, has this “situation” come to a screeching halt? Has Ngakoue determined he wants to take his football talents elsewhere?
Of course, this could all be nothing and while social media has been the method of choice for NFL stars and professional athletes to get their message across in most recent years, I cannot say it is helping to open the lines of communication between the player and the front office.
The Jaguars still have some leverage here. Ngakoue, according to several sources, is looking for a long-term deal in the $22M per year range. That might be too rich for the Jaguars as they have to be financially sensitive to their current situation. And as a fan, I see these series of posts on Ngakoue’s Twitter account as a way to shine the spotlight on himself.
“There’s still a process that needs to be played [out],” Caldwell said via Jaguars.com. “I think you guys know how we feel about him. We want him here. We’re going to try to get him here and keep him here one way or another.”
There are a few other players who have done the same thing. One of them demanded a trade last season after backing the team into a corner to force his way out of the city. No one player is bigger than this team, regardless of how it is played the past two seasons.
Fans are split on this decision, looking at social media and listening to them in general conversation. It’s a stance both sides may negotiate into next season if the Jaguars hit Ngakoue with the franchise hits their pass rusher with the franchise tag.
I expect that to happen sooner rather than later.
Should Ngakoue hit the open market, as he is ranked as the seventh-best talent this offseason by NFL.com, there will be plenty of suitors for his services. The Jaguars cannot afford to let him test the market because he won’t return to North Florida.
“Ngakoue’s eight sacks and 50 total pressures in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus, were his lowest marks since his rookie season, which is incredible production for a down year,” writes Gregg Rosenthal.
It is believed, depending on who you ask, Ngakoue should receive somewhere between $17-19M per season in free agency, well below his alleged asking price. For a player who told the local media last year prior to the start of training camp that he knows his worth in this league, he might have set the bar too high for himself.
Especially here in Jacksonville.
We all will wait to see what happens. This shouldn’t be that hard a decision. Jacksonville may not be able to afford Ngakoue’s asking price, but they cannot afford to let a young and talented pass rusher just walk away in free agency.
The franchise tag is the best option for the team, but not necessarily the player.
Which side blinks first? More important than that, what is this message Ngakoue has for everyone on Monday and how does it impact his future here in black and teal?