Field Yates of ESPN, outlined a trade scenario between the Jaguars and Browns that would send Yannick Ngakoue to Cleveland in exchange for tight end David Njoku and a 2021 second-round pick.
Here's what Yates had to say about the possible trade:
Why the Jaguars do it: My sense is that Jaguars fans would balk at such a move, as they seek a far more lucrative return for the 25-year-old pass-rusher, but let's start by examining why making a trade for Ngakoue is difficult. He's playing under the franchise tag, meaning the team inheriting Ngakoue is committing twice to him: once in trade compensation and then again financially, the latter likely to be more significant than the former ($20 million annually is a logical starting point).
Yates accurately asserts that Jaguars' fans would be none-to-thrilled about this trade. Jaguars' management has been rumored to be in search of at least one first-round pick as compensation for their talented pass rusher. From my perch, landing a second-round pick in next year's draft and a quality young player at a position of need would be enticing.
The Jaguars don't seem to believe that tight end is a position of need. On multiple occasions since the signing of Tyler Eifert Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell has referred to him as a Pro Bowler. Eifert does have Pro Bowl talent and stayed healthy for all 16 games in 2019, but he hasn't been in Pro Bowl form since 2015. Still, the Jaguars have hitched their wagon to Eifert in 2020. Behind him, they feel very comfortable with James O'Shaughnessy, who was having a career year in 2019 before he suffered a torn ACL, and Josh Oliver, who missed most of his rookie season last year with various injuries.
While the outside world may not highly value the Jaguars' current tight ends, there is a belief in this group within the building.
Would I be in favor of this trade?
Yes, but under one condition. If I were pulling the strings for the Jaguars' front office, I'd look for just a bit more compensation; maybe ask for a fifth-round pick, of which the Browns have two.
Adding another second and fifth-round pick to the Jaguars' 2021 draft arsenal would give the Big Cats two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a third, two fourths, two fifths, a sixth, and a seventh. That's ten total selections with four in the first two rounds. Not a bad way to continue this team's rebuild, regardless of who is calling the shots after the 2020 season.
Adding David Njoku to the mix at tight end would vault the Jaguars' TE corp into the conversation for the league's best. Newly hired offensive coordinator Jay Gruden loves two tight end sets and would be able to get the most out of a Njoku-Eifert pairing. Njoku is coming off an injury-riddled third year in the league, but the former first-round pick broke out in 2018 with 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns. He's a talented pass catcher and has two years left on his rookie deal as the Browns picked up 2021 fifth-year option.
Why would the Browns agree to give up a second, a fifth, and Njoku?
They need a big-time pass rusher off the edge to pair with Myles Garrett, and that's precisely what Yannick Ngakoue is. They also made David Njoku expendable by signing Austin Hooper to a four year, $42 million deal this offseason and drafting Harrison Bryant in the fourth round. With a loaded group of offensive weapons, the Browns have pressure to win this year, so making moves that make them better right now, seems prudent.
At the end of the day, this may all be moot. The Jaguars don't seem to be in any rush to unload Ngakoue unless they find a deal that they feel is fair. And if a team does trade for him, they'd likely need some assurances that he would sign a new contract with them, or else they'd potentially be getting a one-year rental.
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