The Jacksonville Jaguars have announced they have placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
It’s not a move that wasn’t expected. The 24-year-old former third-round pick announced earlier this month he did not wish to stay in Jacksonville and told the franchise he did not seek a long-term deal once he was set to become a free agent on March 18. The Jaguars used the franchise tag in an effort to either get him to play under a one-year salary of $19.3M for 2020 or seek a trade.
The Jaguars did not want to lose Ngakoue’s services without receiving something in return. The team did attempt to work out a deal with him and his agent prior to negotiations breaking off before the start of training camp.
"“Giving Ngakoue a franchise tag extends the time the Jaguars need to decide what to do about their talented 24-year-old pass-rusher,” writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.“If he reports to camp, he would make $19.3 million. But that’s not likely, and this move is a necessary step for the Jaguars to make a deal to extract trade value instead of letting him go for nothing in free agency (aside from a compensatory draft pick in 2021).”"
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Several teams, including the New York Giants, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills have been linked to Ngakoue this offseason as potential teams to sign him in free agency. Trade talk has surfaced even before the team used the franchise tag, with stories on different sites including the Las Vegas Raiders, Detroit Lions and Bills are part of potential blockbuster deals.
Ngakoue has been one of the Jaguars most productive players over the four seasons he has worn black and teal. He has recorded 37.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles over that time and has become one of the premier pass rushers in the game.
From a productivity standpoint, losing him this season would be a huge blow to an already thin defense. The Jaguars finished seventh in the league in quarterback sacks last season but had issues stopping the run.
"“Ngakoue finished with eight sacks and four forced fumbles in 2019. He’s a hard worker and a one-man turnover machine — of the 12 defensive touchdowns the Jaguars have scored since 2016, Ngakoue is directly responsible for five: a pick-six, a fumble return and three forced fumbles on sacks that other players recovered for TDs,” DiRocco added."