As the 4 pm deadline for Yannick Ngakoue — who was franchise tagged earlier this offseason and has repeatedly asked to be traded — and the Jaguars to agree on a new long-term deal, Adam Schefter has revealed a new plot twist.
According to Schefter, Ngakoue understands that with COVID-19, a new long-term contract might not happen. Still, Ngakoue has engaged in contract talks with other teams. Teams have told Schefter that Ngakoue has been flexible about playing elsewhere under the franchise tag in 2020.
As was previously reported, the issue here is that the Jaguars are asking for too much, at least in the eyes of prospective trade partners. But why would Dave Caldwell, the Jaguars' GM, cave to trade demands that don't benefit his team? Ngakoue is a game-changing talent off the edge, and the Jaguars value him as such. If the Jags don't receive what they see as fair compensation, holding on to Ngakoue is their best move.
Of course, if Ngakoue is willing to play under the franchise tag for a new team, the Jaguars could wait to trade him. But if they're having a difficult time finding value from a trade partner now, it's highly unlikely that a better offer will come around after 4 pm today. Why? If another team trades for Ngakoue after the deadline to work out a long-term contract, they could potentially just be getting a one-year rental, similar to what happened with Seattle and Jadeveon Clowney in 2019. In any event, that's unlikely to happen because the Jaguars are playing hardball.
If Jacksonville elects not to trade their ascending pass-rusher, he'll either be forced to play under the franchise tag in 2020 or sit out. The former seems much more likely, especially considering Ngakoue has made just $4.67 million in his career to this point, and he'd be giving up $17.8 million by not playing in 2020. And sitting out wouldn't get Ngakoue any closer to what he ultimately wants — a long-term deal with a new club. Regardless of whether or not Ngakoue plays or sits in 2020, the Jaguars would still have the option to franchise tag him again next offseason, which could lead to another lengthy standoff between the two sides.
Ultimately, Dave Caldwell and the Jaguars have all the leverage in this situation. They have control over Ngakoue for the next two seasons. If the team doesn't receive proper compensation via a trade, they will not let Ngakoue walk for pennies on the dollar.
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