Yannick Ngakoue: Is a trade this season still possible?

Will the Buffalo Bills make a run at Jacksonville Jaguars pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue if the team is still in need of help on the defensive line?

If the Jacksonville Jaguars continue to entertain offers for Yannick Ngakoue – should there be any – would the Buffalo Bills make the most sense as a team to acquire him?

It was a question proposed by Brandon Croce on buffalowdown.com on FanSided.com. He believes if the team that could win the AFC East needs more help with their pass rush, a call to Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell would be in order.

“Earlier this offseason, one of the more popular potential free agent targets for the Buffalo Bills was defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The Jacksonville Jaguar pass rusher had 37.5 sacks over his first four years in the league and at 25 years of age, still has plenty of football in front of him,” Croce writes.

“It is rare to have a defensive end with that kind of production, at that age, hit the open market. Unfortunately for the Buffalo Bills, those plans were foiled when the Jaguars used their franchise tag on Ngakoue.”

As of writing this story, there is no change in the contract status between the Jaguars and Ngakoue. The 25-year-old has not signed his franchise tag. There is no plan that we know of to trade the former Maryland star. The one-year deal with the franchise tag would pay him $17.8M. He made just over $2M in 2019.

There is no disagreement about how productive he has been in four seasons, racking up 37.5 sacks and 14 fumbles. There are some concerns he is not a strong run defender but given how he has made a career of playing in opponents’ backfields, it should not be the reason teams won’t negotiate a trade.

There are three reasons why the Bills may want to add Yannick Ngakoue, including the idea of a younger defense, a better pass rush, and the potential to obtain him at a reduced rate.

“This doesn’t appear to be something that will be ending anytime soon and with Ngakoue still not signing the franchise tag, the Buffalo Bills and GM Brandon Beane should at the very least call the Jaguars to see what their asking price might be,” Croce wrote.

If the Bills show interest, does it mean other teams will do the same? There were rumors leading up to the NFL Draft that the Raiders had a strong interest to make a draft-day trade, but the team’s asking price was too high. Ngakoue used his Twitter account to post pictures of Philadelphia Eagles players with the idea that maybe it would be a place he wants to play.
There are other reasons he could be a match for Bills as Croce explains.

“Another reason it makes sense for the Bills to pursue Ngakoue is that he is a very different defensive end than A.J. Epenesa. The strength of Epenesa’s game is really more so against the run than getting after the quarterback, even though he did have 26.5 sacks in college,” he adds.

Jacksonville Jaguars fans are split on whether or not they want Yannick Ngakoue back, mainly because of his social media rants and how he wants more ($22M per season) than some think he is worth. The fact remains the Jaguars have not done anything to try to relinquish ties to their young pass rusher.

Until they do, Ngakoue remains a piece of the Jaguars’ new defensive puzzle. The team holds more leverage. The player must decide if playing for one more year here in Jacksonville is worth cashing in a bigger payday with another team next season.