Every story has an ending.
The Yannick Ngakoue-Jacksonville Jaguars saga ends like this:
The Jaguars are sending Ngakoue, a former Pro-Bowl pass rusher to the Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick. The conditions of the second pick are as follows: If Ngakoue makes the Pro Bowl, the pick turns into a fourth-rounder; if he makes the Pro Bowl and the Vikings win the Super Bowl, it becomes a third-round pick. Adam Schefter was the first to break the news.
A story that dates back to last offseason has finally come to a close.
The short version: Last summer, the year before Ngakoue's rookie contract was set to end, he and the Jaguars engaged in contract talks. But then Jaguars' EVP Tom Coughlin (who is no longer with the team), cut the contract talks short. Coughlin's hardline stance put a sour taste in Yannick Ngakoue's mouth, which he would not soon forget. Ngakoue had a solid season, especially considering he battled through injury for the first several weeks. After the 2020 season, Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell made it clear — publicly — that the team wanted to do everything they could to retain Ngakoue long term. But the 25-year-old pass rusher had different plans. Instead of entertaining talks of a new deal, Ngakoue expressed his desire to be traded. Of course, the Jaguars were in no rush to trade Ngakoue. So as the months went along, nothing happened. Eventually, the Jaguars were forced to place the franchise tag on Ngakoue. But he remained committed to not playing in Jacksonville and went as far as to call out Tony Khan (son of Shad Khan and partial owner of the team) on Twitter. Just a couple weeks ago, Ngakoue parted with his agent, and days later, Dave Caldwell mentioned that he and his star pass rusher had been in contact. But 2020 training camp has now come and gone, and with no sign of Ngakoue, the Jaguars finally agreed to trade him in exchange for two draft picks. The end.
These newly acquired draft picks add to the Jaguars' already impressive draft arsenal. The Jaguars now have ten picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, including four in the first two rounds and eight in the first five.
Without Ngakoue in the fold, the Jaguars' defensive end rotation will be vastly different than it was in 2019. Calais Campbell is a Raven, and Yannick Ngakoue is a Viking. That leaves Josh Allen, a rising star who racked up 10.5 sacks as a rookie, to pick up the slack. The mix at defensive end will also be Dawuane Smoot, who came into his own with six sacks as a role player in 2019, and K'Lavon Chaisson, the 20th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Three 2020 free agent signings, Josh Mauro, Adam Gotsis, and Cassius Marsh, will also compete for reps at defensive end. Mauro and Gotsis profile more as run stuffers, while Marsh can pressure the passer and play in space a bit more.
The Jaguars may elect to pursue a guy like Jadeveon Clowney. With $17.788 million now off the books, the Jaguars have plenty of cash to play with.
As for Ngakoue's future? He'll play under the franchise tag (at a reduced number that he and the Vikings agree to) in 2020 and then will be up for a new contract yet again. He and the Vikings are unable to negotiate a long-term deal until after the 2020 season according to the rules of the CBA.
Follow Jordan on Twitter for all the latest Jaguars news and analysis.
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