The Jacksonville Jaguars were seemingly interested in arranging a reunion with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue earlier this year but ultimately passed. Ngakoue still remains unsigned after hitting the open market but hopes to sign with a club in the upcoming weeks.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Tuesday that Ngakoue just hired agent Drew Rosenhaus and expects to find a new club before training camp. Insider Jeremy Fowler stated not long after that clubs that have done due diligence think the 2017 Pro Bowl nod wants a long-term deal.
Ngakoue, a third-round pick in the 2016 draft, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Jags. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 2020 and has also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Indianapolis Colts. Despite the fact that he's consistently changed teams, he's managed to be productive, registering 65 sacks, 21 forced fumbles, and two interceptions in 110 career games with 102 starts.
In the days preceding the draft, Michael DiRocco of ESPN said that the Jaguars had an interest in Ngakoue but also noted that he wasn't sure Jacksonville would be willing to meet his salary demands. Similarly, DiRocco wondered whether Ngakoue would be ok taking on a rotation role.
The Jaguars might not be an enticing landing spot for Yannick Ngakoue
Head coach Doug Pederson said not long ago that the team wants to see what their young pass rushers can do before looking for outside help, which makes sense when you take into account that Jordan Smith and rookie Yasir Abdullah could develop into solid contributors. Similarly, outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker are expected to improve in 2023, so signing someone before the season starts would probably be a last-resort kind of move.
The fact that Ngakoue is looking for a multi-year contract could also complicate a reunion. While it's hard to guess what his salary demands are, he surely whats to get a better deal than the ones Frank Clark and Leonard Floyd recently signed with the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills, respectively.
Let's say Ngakoue wants an annual salary of $10 million, the Jaguars could afford to give it to him but that would limit their ability to re-sign players that are slated to hit the open market next offseason, such as tight end Evan Engram, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Josh Allen. Simply, it's hard to see the team's brass prioritizing inking Ngakoue over bringing back their own players.
In the end, signing Ngakoue shouldn't be ruled out just yet but it seems unlikely at this point, especially if some of the Jaguars' young rushers manage to make strides in mandatory minicamp.