The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally ready to discuss trading star edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Other NFL teams believe the Jags are open to discussions and want a first-round pick and more in exchange for the Pro Bowler. It's worth noting, Ngakoue desperately wants out of Jacksonville. All you need to do is glance at his Twitter profile to deduce that much.
Ngakoue is only 25 and has established himself as one of the NFL's most consistent pass rushers. He has 37.5 sacks and a crazy 14 forced fumbles during the first four years of his career. He reached the Pro Bowl in 2017 and has played in 63 of a possible 64 games since he entered the league. He's a force off the edge and plenty of teams would be happy to have him.
The Jaguars used the franchise tag to retain Ngakoue for 2020 and he's projected to make $19.316 million, but he'll likely wind up with a contract extension wherever he ends up. Here's a look at three teams who should trade for his services.
The Seahawks could be losing Jadeveon Clowney in free agency, which means they'll need an upgrade off the edge. Clowney is said to be looking for a deal in the $18 million a year range. If that's the case, a deal Ngakoue has to be considered instead. Clowney is two years older than Ngakoue, has been in the league two years longer and has fewer sacks. He's better against the run, but Seattle desperately needs to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Seahawks currently have the 27th pick in the draft and no one they draft at that point will be better than Ngakoue. They also have an additional second-round pick to play with, as they own the 59th and 64th overall picks. That means if they were to give up their first-rounder and one of their fourth-rounders (133 and 144) it wouldn't hurt as badly. But they might even be able to convince the Jaguars to take a second-rounder and a number of other later-round selections.
Seattle only has about $14.6 million in cap space available but obviously that can be fixed with clever contract work and moving other players. This is a fit and they can make the numbers work.
New York Jets
The Jets need something to build around on defense. Between 2019 first-rounder Quinnen Williams' arrest woes and overpaying C.J. Mosley (who missed most of the year with injuries), New York has nothing on defense that looks rock-solid. Ngakoue would change that. At 6-foot-2 and 246 pounds, Ngakoue could fit as a rush end in the team's 3-4 scheme.
Jordan Jenkins had a solid year rushing the passer in 2019, sacking opposing quarterbacks eight times. But no one else generated enough of a push and the team's defense suffered as a result. Ngakoue would give them that outside pressure they desperately need. New York finished 23rd in team sacks in 2019 with only 35.
The Jets have a ton of cap space available but obviously won't be giving up the 11th overall pick for Ngakoue. They do have and extra third-rounder this year that could help facilitate a deal.
The Eagles would also be a great fit for Ngakoue and they have $27.9 million in cap space to play with. A defensive line that boasted Fletcher Cox and Ngakoue would be terrifying for opposing offensive lines to deal with.
Brandon Graham and Derrick Barnett currently occupy the defensive end spots in Philadelphia, which means there's plenty of room for an upgrade. Graham will be 32 when the 2020 season starts and has never been a consistently dominant pass rusher. He'll also be a free agent after next season. Barnett has yet to live up to his enormous potential. He's been solid but not spectacular since the Eagles selected him with the 14th pick in the 2017 draft. In three seasons he has 14 sacks to his name. That's not good enough.
The Eagles have the cap space to fit Ngakoue and are in win-now mode. The only question would be what they're willing to surrender to get a deal done. They have eight picks in the 2020 draft and seven in the first four rounds. They should be heavily engaged with the Jaguars.