Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Yannick Ngakoue says he’s ready to part ways with the Jaguars

todayMarch 2, 2020


By: Hays Carlyon

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has been posting cryptic tweets for months.

There was nothing cryptic about Monday morning’s offering.

Ngakoue announced his intentions to leave the Jaguars as he approaches free agency on March 18. The Jaguars could apply the franchise tag to Ngakoue, securing his rights for this coming season at roughly $17.1 million.

Here is what Ngakoue posted.

“The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long-term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I’m thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere.”

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said at the postseason wrap-up press conference that keeping Ngakoue was his top priority. He shied away from such bold statements last week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

“There is still a process that needs to be played, but I think you all know how we feel about him,” Caldwell said. “We want him here. We are going to try and get him here and keep him here one way or another. I will leave it at that.”

Both Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone raved last week about Ngakoue’s professionalism and approach last season after his training camp holdout did not result in the extension he was seeking.

Ngakoue, who turns 25 later this month, has recorded 38 ½ sacks (counting playoffs) with 15 forced fumbles in his four-year career.

If you’re a Jaguars fan, by all means panic. This is another frustrating day in a long string of frustrating days.

Here’s why I see this as a mere negotiating tactic.

The Jaguars are wounded and Ngakoue’s agent knows this. They know the Jaguars fans are already dissatisfied with the direction owner Shad Khan has taken on multiple fronts, namely retaining Caldwell and Marrone and sending a second home game to London this season.

This tweet was designed to create another backlash against the team. It was successful in doing that, but the key is it has to force Caldwell (or Khan) to raise the offer.

This is a general manager with a spotty draft record who has already been unable to secure receiver Allen Robinson and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (two of his best picks in his seven years) to second contracts. Adding Ngakoue to the list would be another damning black mark on Caldwell’s tenure.

The Jaguars are also trying to remove the stigma the NFLPA put on them last year when the union ripped the franchise for overly fining players. The union went so far as to say players with a choice on the matter should think twice about signing with the Jaguars.

Khan fired executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin a few days after the statement.

Ngakoue refusing to sign with the Jaguars only further cements the perception that the Jaguars are a team players should try to avoid. That’s why Khan overruling Caldwell on this and granting a higher price can’t be dismissed. He was embarrassed by the NFLPA’s statement as he should have been.

However, Ngakoue still doesn’t hold all the cards. The Jaguars will certainly place a franchise tag on him. That creates a gamble for Ngakoue. If he were to sign an extension with the Jaguars, he could be looking at a contract with $65 million in guaranteed money. If he plays on the tag and gets hurt, his value next off-season could plummet.

The Jaguars desperately need Ngakoue on the field for his Year 25-28 seasons. Those should be prime years with the chance to give the defense 50-plus sacks and a bunch of forced fumbles. They need the public-relations boost of Khan, Caldwell and Marrone smiling with Ngakoue at a press conference announcing the biggest deal in club history.

The fans need to feel good about something.

Ngakoue and his agent know this. They also know playing on the tag is a huge financial risk.

Maybe it’s because we’re in the thick of a presidential primary season, but I think this is all politics. You see one candidate rip the other and a few weeks later they are embracing as allies.

This is negotiating.

Nothing has been said that can’t be walked back thanks to $65 million in guaranteed money.

The Jaguars need to sweeten the deal. Ngakoue needs to take the deal.

You can panic. I don’t blame you.

But I’m not.

(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)

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