The Jaguars have taken a few hits over the past few seasons to their roster. How does the Yannick Ngakoue situation play out for both sides?
The Jacksonville Jaguars defense that was once the best in the NFL is now looking for a life preserver as it is drowning in the St. Johns River.
A.J. Bouye, Jalen Ramsey, Tashaun Gipson, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, Barry Church, Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus, Paul Posluszny, and Aaron Colvin. They were once apart of a team that looked to have one of the best defenses of all time. Now, all of those names are about to become faded memories in Jaguars’ lore.
It’s a sad commentary, but it speaks volumes about where things stand just two seasons ago.
After listening to several different opinions regarding the news that Ngakoue has told the organization he does not wish to seek a long-term deal, I’m left thinking there is still more to the story to be heard.
No matter how you slice it, this is an awkward situation. It’s something that should have already been resolved, and should never have gotten to this point. For everything the Jaguars have been criticized for lately, whether it’s moving another game to London, or how the front office handles player contracts or even what is going on with the NFL Draft, there are always two sides to a pancake, no matter how thin it is.
It’s one of the few lessons I continue to teach my children that I picked up from my days at Florida State from the late Dr. James White.
We aren’t sure what is taking place inside the confines of TIAA Bank Field. We don’t know what kind of conversations they have been had between general manager David Caldwell and Ngakoue’s camp.
As my friend Rick Ballou stated on Monday night on his radio show “Into the Night” on 1010XL and 92.5 FM here in Jacksonville, it’s possible that it was never Ngakoue’s intention to remain a Jaguar past the end of his rookie deal. It’s also possible that the lack of communication between the player and former Jaguars executive vice president of operations Tom Coughlin left an indelible stain that could not be removed.
Fans appear pretty upset at the news they came down Monday morning placing blame on both the player and the organization. There’s culpability on both parts. I have my own theories regarding what has transpired that I will discuss at a later date, but for now, the Jaguars will place the franchise tag on one of the most successful defensive players in team history with the potential of seeking a trade prior to the NFL draft. There are other ways this could play out.
Yes, I’m trying to be the ever optimist here.
Looking into a crystal ball, Jaguars could pony up to $22 million per year that Ngakoue is seeking. It would send a message to the fanbase that the team is serious about keeping a very popular player, and it also would give the team one of the better pass-rushing combinations in the NFL with him and Josh Allen.
The front office more than likely will issue a franchise tag. This does two things. It means that should Ngakoue remain with the team through the 2020 season, he would play under a cap figure of $19.3M.
There is the irony that comes from the fact of the Jaguars were reported to have offered him a deal prior to the beginning of last year’s training camp at around the same amount of money over four seasons.
The other thing that can happen is after the team tags him, and Ngakoue’s agent could seek a deal with another team where the dollar figures are right and compensation to the Jaguars is to their liking.
Whether that means the team can get a first or second-round pick and possibly a player to go along with the deal isn’t known yet. There are several teams out there that will be considered suitors, but making the right deal with the right team is a little more complicated than it seems.
There are some analysts and football insiders who still believe there is a place for No. 91 in Jacksonville. I’m included in that mix. If you want to be an ultimate fan of both player and team, you hope that Ngakoue, who has 37.5 sacks in the last four years, does play one more season in Jacksonville before he parts ways with the city.
Free agency begins in a little over two weeks. The NFL draft is less than two months away. The Jaguars must make a big statement in the most positive way. They must show that despite the potential loss of one of their best players, Jacksonville’s front office has a plan in place to fill the void and make this team is better than it was with Ngakoue on the field.
I’m not sure that can be done this coming season.