Yannick Ngakoue

Ravens Tried To Trade For Yannick Ngakoue

The Ravens have made several attempts to upgrade their pass rushing corps this offseason. In addition to a creative sign-and-trade attempt to land Jadeveon Clowney, which was nixed by the league, Baltimore also tried to trade for former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

La Canfora says the Ravens and Jags were “deep in talks” and had agreed that Baltimore would send a second-round pick to Jacksonville in exchange for Ngakoue, but the Ravens’ salary cap situation ultimately prevented a deal from being completed. At the time of the trade discussions, the Ravens had roughly $6MM in cap space, and while the team did create some (perhaps temporary) room when it released Earl Thomas, Baltimore apparently was not comfortable depleting all of its reserves.

Ultimately, Ngakoue was sent to the Vikings and agreed to reduce his 2020 salary from ~$18MM to $12MM in order to facilitate the trade. The Maryland product likely would have been willing to make a similar concession to make a Ravens trade work, but even a $12MM salary would have forced Baltimore to create cap space elsewhere via restructure or extension.

The team did just create $3MM in cap space several days ago by reworking Brandon Williams‘ contract, and look for the Ravens to continue their pursuit of a pass rusher. Baltimore is said to be monitoring Ziggy Ansah, and perhaps a deal will come together after Week 1. Failing that, GM Eric DeCosta could swing a trade in advance of this year’s deadline, just as he did last year in acquiring CB Marcus Peters from the Rams.

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Contract Details: Decker, Mixon, Ngakoue, Dotson

There have been a handful of extensions, reworked contracts, and brand-new deals signed over the past few weeks. We’ve provided updates on some of those notable deals below:

  • Taylor Decker, LT (Lions): Four-year, $60MM extension. Includes $7.5MM signing bonus (paid out in 17 installments in 2020). Salaries: $6.85MM (2020), $13MM fully guaranteed (2021), $14.75MM fully guaranteed (2022), $13.7MM (2023), $12.95MM (2024). $250K workout bonuses (2022-2024), $500 roster bonus (2024). Via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter.
  • Joe Mixon, RB (Bengals): Four-year, $48MM extension. Includes $10MM signing bonus. Salaries: $1.3MM (2020), $8MM (2021), $8MM (2022), $9.4MM (2023). $9.6MM club option in 2024. $500K in playing time bonuses, $200K in offseason workout bonuses (each season). Via Rapoport on Twitter.
  • Yannick Ngakoue, DE (Vikings): One year, $12MM reworked deal. $8MM base salary and $4MM signing bonus. Via Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling on Twitter.
  • Demar Dotson, RT (Broncos): One-year, $3MM deal. $1.15MM salary ($400K guaranteed). $100K roster bonus, $250K game-day roster bonuses. $1.5MM in incentives. Via Mike Klis of 9News on Twitter.

Vikings’ Yannick Ngakoue Takes Pay Cut

Yannick Ngakoue really, really wanted out of Jacksonville. The former Jaguars defensive end has agreed to a new one-year deal with the Vikings that will pay him just $12MM, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). Under his terms of his one-year tender, Ngakoue would have made $17.8MM. 

[RELATED: Vikings Acquire Yannick Ngakoue From Jaguars]

Furthermore, the new deal does not include a no-tag clause. The Vikings will retain the right to cuff Ngakoue in 2021, which would delay his free agency by yet another year. Opinions are split on Ngakoue because of his pressures-to-sacks ratio and his social media spats with Jaguars brass. Regardless, it’s hard to see this acquisition as anything but a major victory for the Vikings. The Vikings got the promising 25-year-old edge rusher for a second-round pick and change, and they’re now getting him at a ~25% discount.

Ngakoue is not particularly strong against the run, but he has averaged over nine sacks per season over his first four years in the league, and he has also shown some serious play-making ability. He has forced 14 fumbles to date and he boasted a pass-rush win rate of 21% as an edge rusher last season. That topped the win rate of his new partner Danielle Hunter (15%) as well as Everson Griffen (17%), who has moved on to the Cowboys.

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Browns Were In Serious Talks For Yannick Ngakoue

The Jaguars have finally traded Yannick Ngakoue, shipping him to the Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2022. But before that happened, Jacksonville and the Browns were engaged in serious trade talks, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports.

The Browns were mentioned as a potential suitor for Ngakoue this offseason, but until now, there were no concrete reports concerning Cleveland’s interest. Per Cabot, the fact that Ngakoue was dealing with a change in representation during the trade negotiations threw a wrench in the works, and by the time his agency situation was settled, the July 15 deadline for extending franchise-tagged players had passed. While the Browns may have been willing to part with the same draft capital that the Vikings did to land Ngakoue, his status as a potential one-year rental made them less inclined to do so.

However, Ngakoue “really wanted” to play for the Browns, according to Cabot’s sources. The 2016 third-rounder accepted a significant pay cut from his $17.8MM franchise tag number to facilitate his trade to Minnesota, and Cabot says he may have been willing to drop his 2020 salary even more for Cleveland.

But the Browns ultimately elected to move forward with Olivier Vernon, reworking his deal to turn his $15.25MM non-guaranteed pact into $11MM guaranteed with the potential to earn an additional $2MM via incentives. When that happened, it made an Ngakoue trade (or a Jadeveon Clowney signing) much less likely.

Cabot says that Vernon is in the midst of a terrific training camp, and the Browns fully believe that he and Myles Garrett will form an imposing pass rush duo in 2020. Ngakoue obviously has considerably more long-term upside than Vernon, so time will tell if Cleveland — which still has a lot of salary cap space — made the right call.

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Jets Notes: Gase, Bell, Ngakoue

Earlier this week, there was yet another tense moment between Jets head coach Adam Gase and running back Le’Veon Bell. As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com details, Gase pulled Bell after two series during Wednesday’s scrimmage because of hamstring tightness. That prompted Bell to take to Twitter to say that there was nothing wrong with his hamstrings and that “it’s tough to stay loose when you do a bunch of standing around.”

Gase said that he spoke with Bell for a long time after the Twitter posts and that the two sides are on the same page. But as Cimini writes in a separate piece, the latest episode might not be the last one. Bell has reportedly had an unimpressive camp, and Gase has previously indicated he wants to reduce Bell’s workload in 2020. So Bell, who needs a productive season in order to avoid being cut — or to land a lucrative contract with another club — is unlikely to appreciate his fellow backs siphoning off his carries. It remains a situation ripe for future turmoil.

Now for more from Gang Green:

  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has previously reported that GM Joe Douglas is under cash-flow restrictions imposed by Jets ownership, and he reiterated that report today. He says ownership gave Douglas a “hard time” after last year’s one-year, $8.4MM contract for Ryan Kalil didn’t pan out, and he also suggests that the club’s tight-fistedness prevented the team from pursuing Yannick Ngakoue, who was just traded to the Vikings (Twitter links).
  • On the other hand, the restraint that Douglas showed in free agency this offseason was generally lauded in light of the team’s recent history with splashy signings, so it’s difficult to say whether that restraint was due to a mandate from ownership or just a deliberately measured approach. And as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets, the Jets were not hugely interested in Ngakoue to begin with given his struggles against the run and the fact that the deadline for an extension passed on July 15.
  • Backup QB Joe Flacco is eyeing a Week 3 return, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Jets signed the former Super Bowl MVP to back up Sam Darnold, and Flacco has been working his way back from neck surgery.

Vikings To Acquire Yannick Ngakoue From Jaguars

Yannick Ngakoue finally got his wish. As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com was the first to report, the Jaguars have traded their disgruntled defensive end to the Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round selection that could become a fourth- or third-round choice.

Ngakoue has wanted out of Jacksonville for some time. Last July, he became upset when then-executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin abruptly ended extension negotiations with the 2016 third-rounder, and while he did suit up for the club in the 2019 season, he made it clear this offseason that the relationship between him and the team was beyond repair.

The Jaguars put the franchise tag on him, valued at $17.8MM, but he did not sign the tag, and all indications were that, if he wasn’t traded, he was going to stay away from the team until Week 10 of the 2020 season. That would have been the deadline for him to be able to count 2020 as an accredited year towards free agency.

Given his very public unhappiness with Jacksonville, the fact that the deadline for tagged players to sign an extension passed on July 15, and his high franchise tag number, the Jags didn’t have a ton of leverage. But GM Dave Caldwell managed to finagle two draft picks out of the Vikings, and Schefter says the 2022 fifth-rounder will become a fourth-rounder if Ngakoue makes the Pro Bowl in 2020 and will become a third-rounder if he makes the Pro Bowl and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.

From the Vikings’ perspective, that’s a relatively small price to pay for the chance to bookend Ngakoue with another talented young pass rusher, Danielle Hunter. The team lost longtime stalwart Everson Griffen to the Cowboys earlier this month, and as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes, Minnesota began working on an Ngakoue deal as soon as it became clear Griffen wasn’t coming back (Twitter link).

In order to make the trade work, the Vikings did have to create some cap room. Further proving just how desperate he was to get out of Jacksonville, Ngakoue reduced his 2020 pay from $17.8MM to just below $13MM to facilitate the deal (Twitter link via Albert Breer of SI.com). Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com reports that Minnesota could also rework an existing contract and names LT Riley Reiff as a potential restructure candidate. Cronin says the team will not cut a player just for salary cap purposes (Twitter links).

However, Cronin points out that the Ngakoue acquisition could mean that the team is not going to reach an extension with running back Dalvin Cook (Twitter link). The two sides recently agreed to table contract negotiations, and without a major cost-cutting move or two, Cook may be destined for free agency in 2021.

But that’s another story for another day. For now, the Vikings have solidified their status as one of the top teams in the NFC, and the Hunter-Ngakoue combination will be a formidable one for opposing offenses, especially when considering the similar excellence the team enjoys in its LB and DB corps.

Ngakoue is not particularly strong against the run, but he has averaged over nine sacks per season over his first four years in the league, and he has also shown some serious play-making ability. He has forced 14 fumbles to date, and as Schefter writes, the Maryland product is directly responsible for five of the 12 defensive touchdowns the Jaguars have scored since 2016. Cronin observes in a full-length piece that Ngakoue had a pass-rush win rate of 21% as an edge rusher last season, which ranked higher than Griffen (17%) and Hunter (15%).

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes that the Vikings plan to sign Ngakoue to a long-term deal after the 2020 season (video link). While Minnesota will have a number of other contract issues to address, pairing Ngakoue and Hunter together for the foreseeable future will be an indubitably tempting proposition.

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South Notes: Ngakoue, Benson, Campbell

A little over a week ago, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic reported that the Jaguars were on the verge of a deal that would ship disgruntled defensive end Yannick Ngakoue out of Jacksonville. Jags GM Dave Caldwell refuted the report, saying no trade involving Ngakoue is imminent.

But Lombardi has doubled down and insists a trade will happen soon (subscription required). He says Ngakoue is not motivated by money right now, he is motivated by a change of scenery, so he is not worried about missing game checks. According to Lombardi, if Ngakoue is not traded, he will not report until the 10th game of the season, the deadline for him to be able to count the 2020 season as an accredited year towards free agency. And at that point, the trade deadline will be in the rear-view mirror and the Jaguars will be left with nothing but a comp pick when Ngakoue signs elsewhere.

On the other hand, Lombardi’s second report linked above was published on August 21, and nothing has materialized on the Ngakoue front since then. It is, as ever, a situation to keep an eye on.

Now for more from the league’s south divisions:

  • Saints owner Gayle Benson tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced. Luckily, the 73-year-old was not hospitalized and is recovering at her New Orleans home. Benson is the second NFL owner to test positive, joining the Cardinals’ Michael Bidwill. Bidwill was hospitalized for his symptoms but appears to have made a full recovery, and it sounds as if Benson will do the same.
  • Mike Chappell of Fox 59 reports that Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell is in the concussion protocol following a minor car accident earlier this week. Indianapolis nabbed the Ohio State speedster in the second round of last year’s draft, and after his rookie campaign was derailed due to injury, he was in the midst of a solid training camp this year. He is a roster lock, of course, but it’s unfortunate that his positive momentum has been slowed a bit.
  • The Texans activated Gareon Conley from the PUP list earlier this month, and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that the 2017 first-rounder is progressing well from his offseason arthroscopic ankle surgery. Houston declined Conley’s fifth-year option for 2021, so he will be eligible for free agency next year and could cash in with a strong platform campaign. However, Wilson says second-year pro Lonnie Johnson and Conley are neck-and-neck for a starting job, as Conley has been inconsistent since his return to the field.
  • We learned earlier today that the Buccaneers are interested in extending longtime LB Lavonte David.

Raiders Eyeing Yannick Ngakoue

There’s nothing imminent on the Yannick Ngakoue front, but the Raiders are keeping an eye on the Jaguars defensive end, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (Twitter link). There are several obstacles to a deal, but Rapoport stresses that it’s not an impossibility. 

Multiple teams have shown interest in Ngakoue, but Rapoport hears that the Raiders have been the only club to maintain active discussions. That jibes with what we’ve heard lately. Last week, we heard that the Jets are no longer interested. The Seahawks, meanwhile, were connnected to Ngakoue in the spring, but lately we’ve been hearing more about a possible reunion with Jadeveon Clowney or a play for veteran Clay Matthews.

The Raiders could make a characteristically bold move for Ngakoue, adding him to their group of edge talent led by Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby. Still, the asking price is steep. The Jaguars want more than a second-round pick for Ngakoue and GM Dave Caldwell is still playing hard to get. Ngakoue hasn’t signed his tender, and he still says that he does not want to play for Jacksonville, but Caldwell says that they’re not close on a trade with any club.

Ngakoue, 25, has been at odds with the Jaguars for months. The Jaguars have moved on from Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, and A.J. Bouye within the last year, but they have yet to bend to Ngakoue’s trade demand.

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Jaguars GM: No Yannick Ngakoue Deal Imminent

Hold the phone. Contrary to a recent report, the Jaguars are not close to trading Yannick Ngakoue, according to GM Dave Caldwell (Twitter link via Alex Marvez of SiriusXM). 

[RELATED: Jaguars Seeking “More” Than Second-Round Pick For Ngakoue]

Earlier this week, the Jaguars were said to be on the verge of a trade that would grant Ngakoue’s long-standing wish. Last night, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero cast some doubt on the likelihood of a deal, noting that the Jaguars’ asking price remains high. A second-round pick, he says, would not get the job done. Instead, the Jaguars would want a second-rounder “and change”.

Ngakoue still wants out, and he recently hired a new agent to help facilitate a trade. Still, there’s reason to believe that Ngakoue will ultimately cave and suit up for the Jaguars in 2020. He did, at long last, make contact with Caldwell, and he doesn’t have a lot of great options if the Jags continue to stand firm. Ngakoue will lose out on more than $1MM per week if he takes his holdout into the regular season, and he’ll have to report by Week 10 in order to earn an accrued season towards free agency.

It’s hard to see any team – even the ever-aggressive Raiders – coughing up more than a second-round pick for a rental. With the franchise tender extension deadline in the rear-view mirror, teams cannot engage in contract talks with the defensive end until after the 2020 season. Even then, an Ngakoue extension would be a pricey proposition.

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Jaguars Seeking “More” Than Second-Round Pick For Yannick Ngakoue

The Jaguars are reportedly close to a deal that would send Yannick Ngakoue elsewhere and possibly net the team a second-round pick in return. Apparently, that wouldn’t be quite enough. The Jaguars want “more” than a second-round pick, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Jaguars Close To Yannick Ngakoue Trade?]

A second-rounder “and change,” could be enough to sway Jacksonville, rival teams tell Pelissero, though he hasn’t heard of any imminent deals. The Raiders could be one possible destination for Ngakoue, who would bolster a pass rush currently headlined by Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby. The Jets – who were previously said to be disinterested – are still mulling the possibility, according to Mike Lombardi of The Athletic. The Seahawks may also make some sense for the 25-year-old, and they made a similar late-summer move for Jadeveon Clowney last year.

Ngakoue says he’s through with the Jaguars and he has hired a new agent to help speed up trade talks. On the field, the Jaguars have been happy with the Maryland product – he’s got 37.5 sacks to his credit across four seasons. Off the field, he’s engaged in Twitter spats with team ownership while disparaging the front office publicly. For now, he’s set to play out the 2020 season on his one-year, $17.88MM tender.

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