On Tuesday, at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the Jaguars' general manager, Dave Caldwell, spoke with the media. He touched on a plethora of topics, but none more important than the contract status of Yannick Ngakoue.
Ngakoue is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March. While Caldwell made it clear that there is no news to speak of, he once again emphasized the fact that the Jaguars want to keep Ngakoue in Jacksonville.
The star pass rusher has recorded no less than eight sacks in each of his four seasons in the NFL and has forced at least four fumbles in three of those four seasons. Ngakoue has improved as a run defender, but make no mistake about it, the reason Ngakoue is going to earn a massive payday — whether that be in Jacksonville or elsewhere — is his ability to pressure opposing QBs. His 243 career QB pressures are more than any player from his draft class, which includes Joey Bosa.
The reasons for wanting to keep Ngakoue are obvious. This is a passing league and he helps you when it comes to slowing down your opponent's aerial attack. "I think you guys know how we feel about him. We're going to try to get him here and keep him here, one way or another," said Caldwell.
One way or another ...
One way would be to sign him to a long-term deal. It's been reported that Ngakoue is looking to become the highest-paid pass rusher in football.
The other? The non-exclusive franchise tag. The Jaguars would place a one year tender on Ngakoue worth the average salary of the top five paid players at his position. Ngakoue would then be allowed to negotiate with other teams and the Jaguars would have the right to match an offer or be granted two first-round picks. Would Ngakoue be willing to play under a franchise tag? Would he force a trade? Time will tell.
Caldwell and the Jaguars want their star pass rusher back. What's unclear is how they're going to get that job done. The team has enough cap space to make Ngakoue the highest-paid defensive end at $22 million per year. Having ascending pass-rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen under the team's control for the next four-plus seasons would be a major win for a franchise that is searching for an identity. Ngakoue turns 25 in March.
"The best thing for us to do as an organization is, when he have news on that, we'll let you guys know." - Dave Caldwell
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