Jaguars Rumors

Latest On Yannick Ngakoue

The Jaguars are asking for a “first-round pick and more” in trade talks involving franchise-tagged edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, sources tell Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Ngakoue has requested a trade and indicated he is not interested in signing a long-term with Jacksonville, and the Jaguars have reportedly received some level of interest in the 25-year-old.

Ngakoue will collect $17.788MM under the terms of his franchise tender, but he’s apparently looking for more than $20MM annually on a new deal, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Currently, only three edge rushers exceed the $20MM threshold: Khalil Mack, Demarcus Lawrence, and Frank Clark.

It remains to be seen if any club is willing to deal a first-round pick and give Ngakoue a massive extension. The Chiefs performed such a maneuver in acquiring Clark from the Seahawks last offseason, but many teams might shy away from sacrificing such draft capital simply for the right to extend Ngakoue. That could be especially true when another edge rusher — Jadeveon Clowney — is still available on the open market and has reportedly lowered his asking price.

Ngakoue, a third-round pick in the 2016 draft, has posted at least eight sacks in four of his NFL campaigns, but other metrics were down on him in 2019. Among edge defenders with at least 50% playtime, Ngakoue finished just 25th in pressures (51), per Pro Football Focus. And data points like ESPN’s pass rush win rate and double-team rate largely painted Ngakoue as an average rusher, as The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin recently noted on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ngakoue: Jags Beef Not Money-Based

  • Yannick Ngakoue still wants out of Jacksonville. The franchise-tagged defensive end insists he wants a trade from the Jaguars because of issues with the franchise that do not involve money, the disgruntled defensive end tweets. The Jaguars fired executive VP Tom Coughlin late last season. Grievances came the Jags’ way due largely to Coughlin’s actions, and Jalen Ramsey expressed issues with the since-dismissed exec. Ngakoue still harboring ill will toward the franchise suggests he took issue with Jaguars staffers beyond Coughlin. Ngakoue left Jags OTAs last year, skipped minicamp and broke off extension talks with the organization. The Jags were believed to have taken the unusual step of offering Ngakoue a short-term deal. It appears he will be traded this offseason.

Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue Drawing Trade Interest

Multiple clubs have reached out to the Jaguars with interest in defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). Ngakoue, who turns 25 today, might continue his (remote) celebration with another club. 

Ngakoue said he wanted out of Jacksonville, but the Jags franchise tagged him anyway. Many assumed that this would be Step 1 towards a tag-and-trade, but that’s not necessarily the case – the Jaguars know that he’s one of the most talented young edge rushers in the game today and they could try to reconcile their differences.

The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville,” Ngakoue tweeted a couple weeks back. “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.

That sentiment hasn’t changed. Ngakoue took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to offer his response to Garafolo’s report:

Let’s agree to disagree . Why hold a man from taking care of his family. It’s obvious my time is up in my current situation. Let’s both move on @Jaguars 🏁

Any trade for Ngakoue would require a massive haul in return. It’s believed that the Jaguars are looking for a first-round pick, and then some. It’s a big ask, but not an unrealistic one given Ngakoue’s youth and performance. Since entering the league as the No. 69 overall pick in the 2016 draft, he’s tallied at least eight sacks per season. And, in 2017, he earned a Pro Bowl nod with 12.5 QB takedowns.

The Eagles have reportedly been eyeing Ngakoue and they’re surely not alone. The Jets would be logical suitors, too, though they don’t have him high on their list. Meanwhile, the demand will increase if Jadeveon Clowney is re-signed by the Seahawks or scooped up by another club.

For now, the defensive end is slated to play out the 2020 season with the Jaguars on a one-year, $17.8MM deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Contract Details: Eifert, Day, Ravens

We already took a look at NFC contract details, so let’s switch focus to the other conference. Like last time, all notes via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter:

  • Tyler Eifert, TE (Jaguars): Two years. Worth $9.5MM, including $3.25MM guaranteed. $2.25MM signing bonus. $1.25MM per-game roster bonus, $2M in incentives (2020). Up to $1M per-game roster bonus, $2M in incentives (2021, if options is exercised).
  • Sheldon Day, DT (Colts): Signed. One-year, $1.75M deal, including $1MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus, $1MM salary (of which $500K is guaranteed). Up to $250K in per-game roster bonuses.
  • Andrew Billings, DT (Browns): One year, $3.5MM. Fully guaranteed deal. Includes $2MM signing bonus.
  • Anthony Levine, S (Ravens): Signed. One-year, $1.812MM deal, including $350K guaranteed. $137.6K signing bonus, $1.675MM salary (of which $212.5K is guaranteed).
  • Chris Moore, WR (Ravens): Re-signed. One-year, $1.672MM deal, including $275K guaranteed. $137.5K signing bonus, $1.535MM salary (of which $137.5K is guaranteed).
  • Nick Dzubnar, LB (Titans): Signed. One-year, $1.047MM deal. Includes $137.5K signing bonus, $910K salary.

POLL: Where Will Cam Newton Sign?

The quarterback carousel has mostly come to a stop, and a few big names were left without starting gigs when the dust settled. The highest profile signal-caller on the open market is Cam Newton, and it’s going to be very interesting to see where he ends up signing.

Newton won an MVP and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, but his past two campaigns have been derailed by injuries. Last year he was limited to only two games because of a foot injury. The year before that he started the season off hot, but fell apart down the stretch once he started having shoulder issues. Since teams are unable to host free agents on visits due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it might be harder for Newton to find a home for a while with teams’ doctors being unable to examine him in person.

The Chargers are the betting favorite at sportsbooks offering odds on where Newton will end up, and it’s not hard to see why. Los Angeles is arguably a quarterback away from being a legit Super Bowl contender, and on paper they might have the most talented defense in the league. Tyrod Taylor is currently slated as the team’s starter and while he has been solid at times in the past with Buffalo, he doesn’t have the upside that Newton does.

The Chargers own the sixth overall pick however, and they’ve been linked to drafting a passer in the first-round. We also heard a couple weeks ago that they were no longer looking to add a veteran after they whiffed on Tom Brady, although that was before Newton became a free agent.

The Jaguars are another option, as they’re currently rolling with second-year player Gardner Minshew at quarterback and not much else. Minshew showed flashes last year, but he was hardly consistent. The Redskins are another conceivable suitor as they could reunite Newton with his old coach Ron Rivera, although we heard before he was released that they weren’t expected to be interested.

The Dolphins don’t have a firmly entrenched starter right now, but they’re widely expected to draft a quarterback in the first-round. If they surprisingly decide to pass on one, Newton could make sense as an upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick. Then there’s the Patriots. New England has a lot of uncertainty at the position after Brady’s departure, and all they have right now is the unproven Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. Newton being paired with Bill Belichick would certainly be interesting, to say the least.

So where will the former first overall pick be playing next year? Vote in the poll below (link for app users) and show your work in the comments!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tony Boselli Hospitalized With COVID-19

Bleacher Report NFL columnist Mike Freeman has been keeping close tabs on those tied to the NFL who are dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier Saturday afternoon, Freeman reported (via Twitter) that former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli had been hospitalized with COVID-19. Freeman followed up, adding the 47-year old Boselli was first placed in the intensive care unit, but appeared to improve and was receiving treatment elsewhere.

Boselli was the second overall pick in the 1995 draft by Jacksonville where he would spend the entirety of his seven-year career. While his career was cut short, Boselli still managed to receive five Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections during his playing career. In fact, Boselli has been on the preliminary nominees’ list for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on every cycle since 2009.

Hopefully, Boselli can serve as a reminder to anyone continuing to take the current public health situation lightly. Everyone needs to do everything they can to help minimize their risk of contracting and spreading the virus. Negligence from public officials and people will get people hospitalized and potentially killed. At this point, many more people (in the NFL and otherwise) are going to contract the virus and face dire health circumstances, but if everyone takes responsibility for what they can control we can hopefully minimize the toll of this crisis from becoming worse than our negligence has already made it.

We at PFR join everyone in wishing Boselli and all those dealing with severe cases of COVID-19 the best in their fights.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/26/20

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: LS Nick Moore

Cleveland Browns

Detroit News

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: LB Christian Kuntz

Jaguars’ Darqueze Dennard Deal Off

The Jaguars reached an apparent agreement to sign Darqueze Dennard last week, but the former first-round pick is heading back to free agency.

The team announced an agreement with Dennard could not ultimately be finalized, per Mark Long of the Associated Press (on Twitter). The veteran cornerback will return to unrestricted free agency.

No terms from the Jags’ Dennard agreement surfaced, and the team struck a deal with Rashaan Melvin earlier this week. Both of those developments make more sense now. Dennard is entering his age-29 season. He has spent his entire six-year career with the Bengals.

Jacksonville traded away each member of its top-tier cornerback duo over the past six months, and Dennard was viewed as one of the pieces that would help the team transition from the Jalen RamseyA.J. Bouye era. However, Dennard is primarily a slot cornerback. With slot defender D.J. Hayden residing as the Jaguars’ top incumbent corner, this was set to be an interesting fit. Hayden and Melvin are now the Jags’ two most proven corners. The draft figures to be a key avenue for the team upgrading at this position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Sign Tyler Eifert

Tight end Tyler Eifert and the Jaguars have agreed to a two-year contract, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter). He’s set to earn $15.5MM over the course of the deal, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Eifert has one of the most extensive injury histories among active players, but he has also proven to be a productive receiver when healthy. He played in 16 games for the first time as a pro last season.

The seven-year veteran quietly posted 436 receiving yards and three touchdowns for the 2-14 Bengals in 2019. Eifert re-signed with Cincinnati on one-year deals in 2018 and ’19 but now leaves the team after seven seasons.

Eifert signed for $5.5MM in 2018 and $4MM last year. The 29-year-old tight end was a trade candidate at the October deadline, but the Bengals opted not to make any in-season sell-off moves.

Injuries have limited Eifert throughout his career. He missed 15 games in 2014, eight in 2016, 14 in 2017 and 12 in 2018. The one season when the former first-round pick managed to put it together — 2015 — has helped keep him on the radar. The Notre Dame product caught 13 touchdown passes that season, one that doubled as the Bengals’ most successful campaign in a generation.

The Jaguars have struggled to fill their TE post for years. After their Julius Thomas signing did not work out, they have generated next to nothing from this position. James O’Shaughnessy led Jags tight ends with 214 and 153 receiving yards over the past two seasons, respectively. Jacksonville selected Josh Oliver in the third round last year, but an injury limited him to four games as a rookie.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Sign CB Rashaan Melvin

Rashaan Melvin will soon join an eighth NFL team. The veteran cornerback agreed to terms with the Jaguars on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Melvin spent last season with the Lions and played the 2018 campaign with the Raiders. This will mark another one-year deal for the 30-year-old corner, per agent Drew Rosenhaus, with Schefter adding it’s worth $2.25MM.

The former UDFA started 12 games for the Lions last season and will join Darqueze Dennard as members of a new-look Jaguars cornerback crew, one that will be without both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye in 2020. D.J. Hayden resides as the Jags’ top incumbent. He, Dennard and Melvin have a combined 19 years of NFL experience.

Perhaps Melvin’s top season came with the Colts in 2017. He graded well in the view of Pro Football Focus and attracted a better free agency deal from the Raiders. He signed for north of $5MM in Oakland and received north of $3MM in Detroit. Overall, Melvin has been employed by the Buccaneers, Ravens, Patriots, Dolphins, Colts, Raiders and Lions since 2013.

Last season, Melvin played 870 snaps and graded as PFF’s No. 88 overall corner. While the Jaguars could well make a move in the draft to upgrade, Melvin has a path to a starting role in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.