Yannick Ngakoue

Extension Candidate: Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue

Earlier this summer, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue skipped minicamp in an effort to push for a new contract. Jaguars football czar Tom Coughlin might not be wild about the tactic, but Ngakoue’s stand could very well pay off. 

Ngakoue is entering the final year of his rookie contract and there’s no denying that he is criminally underpaid, given his performance. For now, he’s slated to earn just $2.025MM in 2019 after racking up 29.5 sacks across three seasons.

In essence, both sides want the same thing. Ngakoue wants financial security and the Jaguars would, presumably, love to lock down the 24-year-old for years to come. However, the continued explosion of the edge rushing market makes this an extremely costly proposition for Jacksonville.

This offseason, Frank Clark inked a five-year, $105MM deal with the Chiefs after coming over from the Seahawks. And, just prior to that, Demarcus Lawrence signed a similar deal to stay with the Cowboys. Clark is 26, Lawrence is 27, and Ngakoue just turned 24 in March.

Much is made of the general lack of guarantees in NFL contracts, but top edge rushers continue to rake in guarantees that exceed other key defensive positions. Lawrence got a total guarantee of $65MM and Clark came close with $62.3MM, so there’s no real scenario in which Ngakoue would settle for less than the ~$60MM mark. Meanwhile, he’s likely looking at upwards of $21MM per season in terms of average annual value.

Still, with one year to go on his deal, Ngakoue doesn’t have much leverage. If he does not report to the Jags by August 5, he’ll lose one year of accrued service and push his potential entry into free agency back by one season.

If offered a deal that falls just shy of Clark or Lawrence’s, Ngakoue may very well “settle” and sign. If not, he’ll have to play out the final year of his rookie deal and aim for another gaudy sack total. It’s a risky proposition, but if Ngakoue can terrorize quarterbacks over another 16 game slate, he could be in position to become the highest-paid defensive player in the league.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Ngakoue, Jets, Board

After passing along a few NFC items earlier tonight, let’s round out the evening with some news and notes from the AFC:

  • Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue skipped minicamp as part of his push for a new contract, and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com expects the Maryland product’s efforts to pay off. Speaking to Phillip Hellman of the Florida Times-Union, Fitzgerald says Ngakoue will land a deal with an AAV of at least $21MM and total guarantees of at least $65MM. That would put Ngakoue, who is entering the last year of his rookie contract, at the top of the DE market, but the 24-year-old sack artist has a strong case for that type of payday.
  • New Jets GM Joe Douglas was hired after all of the big free agency bucks were spent, but Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com looks at the assets Douglas will have at his disposal in 2020. Gang Green is expected to have roughly $46MM in cap room, just 17th-most in the league, though Stypulkoski examines a few ways for the club to easily create more space. He names guard Kelechi Osemele and linebacker Avery Williamson as potential cap casualties next offseason.
  • Now that C.J. Mosley is in New York, the Ravens have a void at inside linebacker, and 2018 UDFA Chris Board could fill it. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Board has shot up the team’s depth chart and has a legitimate shot at opening the season as Baltimore’s weak-side ‘backer.
  • Now that Christian Covington is in Dallas, the Texans expect third-year DE Carlos Watkins to have a significantly increased role in 2019, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. The 2017 fourth-rounder played in just four games last year, but he is 13 pounds lighter, and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver said he has “sky-high” expectations for Watkins.

Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue To Skip Minicamp

The Jaguars will not have Yannick Ngakoue as they begin their mandatory minicamp. On Monday, the defensive end announced that he will stay at home in hopes of getting a better deal. 

I will not be attending minicamp as my contract has not been resolved,” Ngakoue said. “I remain committed to Jacksonville, the fans and my teammates. My hope is to be with Jacksonville for years to come.”

Ngakoue reported to the Jaguars for the start of the club’s voluntary workouts in May but stopped showing up after a few days. Now, the 24-year-old is showing that he is serious about his desire for a new deal by absorbing nearly $90K in fines.

Ngakoue is entering a contract year and is set to make just $2.025MM, making him criminally underpaid given his production. Over the last three years, Ngakoue has racked up 29.5 sacks, and he wants to be compensated as one of the best young DEs in the NFL.

The going rate for quality young edge rushers continues to skyrocket. Earlier this offseason, Frank Clark inked a five-year, $105MM deal with the Chiefs after coming over from the Seahawks. Days prior to that, Demarcus Lawrence signed a similar deal to remain with the Cowboys.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue Leaves Workouts

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue reported to the Jaguars for the start of the club’s voluntary workouts. However, he stopped showing up after a few days, according to Mike Florio of PFT

Ngakoue is entering a contract year, so it seems likely that his absence is contract related. The 2016 third-round pick is set to make just $2.025MM, making him criminally underpaid given his production. Over the last three years, Ngakoue has racked up 29.5 sacks, and he should be in line for a monster payday if he keeps up the good work in 2019. Presumably, Ngakoue wants to lock in those dollars today rather than playing out the season.

The going rate for quality young edge rushers continues to skyrocket. Recently, Frank Clark inked a five-year, $105MM deal with the Chiefs after coming over fro the Seahawks. Days prior to that, Demarcus Lawrence signed a similar deal to stay with the Cowboys.

Ngakoue isn’t the only notable absence from Jaguars camp. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith also haven’t been on hand for voluntary workouts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue Changes Agents

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has hired Roc Nation and Ari Nissim as his new representatives, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link). Ngakoue had previously employed agent Adisa Bakari.

Ngakoue just wrapped his second NFL campaign, and given league rules stipulate no player can sign a contract extension until after his third pro season, Ngakoue isn’t allowed to receive a new deal until 2019 at the earliest. Because he wasn’t a first-round pick, Ngakoue doesn’t have a fifth-year option attached to his pact, so he’ll base salaries of $735K and $834K over the next two years before hitting free agency.

Those figures are undeniable bargains for Ngakoue, who turned 23 years old earlier this year. The former third-rounder has been exceptional through two seasons in Jacksonville, as he’s posted 20 sacks since 2016, good for 12th in the NFL during that time. While Ngakoue isn’t much of a run defender, his pass-rush prowess enabled him to grade 23rd among all edge defenders a season ago, per Pro Football Focus.

The Jaguars have invested heavily in their defensive line in recent years, using draft picks on players such as Ngakoue, Dante Fowler Jr., Dawuane Smoot, and — most recently — Taven Bryan, signing free agents Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell, and trading for Marcell Dareus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Impact Rookies: Jacksonville Jaguars

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ draft class:

Patience and an unlimited bank account by team ownership might just be the tickets to get the Jaguars into the playoff picture in 2016. If not, heads are certain to roll, both in the front office and on the field. The maturation of quarterback Blake Bortles, along with the emergence of receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, gives Jacksonville formidable aerial weapons. The addition of former Jets tailback Chris Ivory gives the team a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield, as the newcomer is expected to split time with T.J. Yeldon.

The defense received the bulk of the front office’s attention via the free agent market. Denver’s Malik Jackson was brought on board to join injured 2014 first-round talent Dante Fowler, drastically upgrading the team’s pass rush. Toss in free safety Tashaun Gipson leading a revamped secondary and you can see that coordinator Todd Wash had enough weapons on hand even before the cache of talent the team snatched during the draft.

Jacksonville failed to address their primary need – offensive line – spending six of their seven draft selections on defensive talent. Still, you can envision at least two future All-Pros (Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack) to hopefully emerge from this crop. The rest of the defensive selections were taken with one task in mind – attack the pocket and get to the quarterback.

First Round – Jalen Ramsey, DB (Florida State, No. 5 overall)

The Jags wasted little time running up to the podium with Ramsey’s name on the card handed to the commissioner. Many had figured Ramsey, the best athlete in the draft, would be taken by the Chargers at No. 3 to help ease the loss of Eric Weddle. Ramsey may have slipped past the Chargers and Cowboys due to some minor knee issues and, as it turns out, that injury did pop up during Jacksonville’s rookie campJalen Ramsey

Still, to find Ramsey on the board with the fifth pick was a blessing. The addition of Gipson via veteran free agency will see Ramsey remain a cornerback, at least at the start of his NFL career. He’s already listed as their starting right cornerback, leaving former starters Dwayne Gratz and Aaron Colvin as caddies for Ramsey and Davon House. Both former starters will also have to contend for a roster spot, as the team also inked former Giants first rounder, Prince Amukamara, to a one-year deal. Additionally, the team seems enamored with versatile Nick Marshall, a former college passer making the conversion to the secondary.

Second Round – Myles Jack, LB (UCLA, No. 36 overall)

If Jacksonville was fast to get to the podium with the Ramsey card, they were at warp speed when it came to Myles Jack. Medical reports are split on Jack as some say the injured star is 90% ready to contribute while others indicate that he could have a short-lived career due to his knee issues. Perhaps the Jags felt that Jack was just too good to pass up, even if it is for the short term.

If Jack’s knee is able to withstand the rigors of NFL life, he could be the team’s playmaker at strong-side linebacker. Recent off-field issues for current starter Dan Skuta put the veteran in a precarious situation, but even on his best day, he could not compare to Jack at his worst. Skuta ranked eighth on the team with 40 tackles in 2015 and his 1.5 sacks are easily replaced. Skuta’s roster spot could be in further peril, thanks to the drafting of Yannick Ngakoue and Tyrone Holmes (more on them in a bit). Outside of Telvin Smith, look for the linebacker unit to undergo a transformation this year, with middle linebacker Paul Posluszny possibly holding on to that spot one more year before Jack could be asked to shift inside in 2017.

Read more

Jaguars Wrap Up Draft Class

The Jaguars have officially signed every player in their 2016 draft class. Today, the Jaguars announced that they have formally inked third-round defensive end Yannick NgakoueYannick Ngakoue (vertical)

[RELATED: Jaguars Not Including Offset Language In Rookie Deals]

Prior to the draft, the Maryland linebacker was very popular on the workout scene and managed to boost his stock from a fourth- or fifth-round prospect to a third-round draft choice. While Ngakoue has a ways to go when it comes to defending against the run, he is regarded as a strong pass rusher and should serve as a solid rotational piece in 2016. As the Jaguars’ page on Roster Resource shows, Ngakoue figures to be a preferred backup behind Dante Fowler Jr. and Jared Odrick. The Jaguars also have Ryan Davis, Jonathan Woodard, Chris Smith, and Quanterus Smith on the DE depth chart.

The Jaguars’ top pick this year was Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey was highly coveted by rival teams heading into this year’s draft, but the Jaguars had a clear path to grab him once the Chargers selected Joey Bosa and the Cowboys plucked Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. Unfortunately, Ramsey had to undergo surgery on his right knee, but he is expected to be back in time for training camp and should not miss any regular season time if all goes well.

Here’s the complete rundown of Jacksonville’s 2016 draft class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Rumors: Jack, Posluszny, Henne

Here’s the latest coming out of north Florida during the OTA portion of the NFL calendar.

  • Although Myles Jack‘s role could be on passing downs as he acclimates to the NFL after a damaging knee injury ended his UCLA career, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union projects the Jaguars second-rounder’s future to be at middle linebacker, where Paul Posluszny has lined up for the past three seasons. This would leave Dan Skuta untouched on the strong side if Telvin Smith is indeed going to resume his work opposite him. If healthy, Jack possesses the speed to play anywhere at linebacker but played mostly on the outside with the Bruins during his two healthy seasons, when he wasn’t moonlighting as a running back.
  • The 31-year-old Posluszny, whose 725 solo tackles since 2008 lead the NFL, has been a three-down linebacker during his three-year Jags tenure. But if Jack can prove adept, he could well join Smith in nickel settings. A former second-round pick, Posluszny sees a demotion out of a third-down role as a ticket out of the league, given teams’ reliance on sub-packages. “When teams see you as a two-down player, to me, that means it’s over for you,” Posluszny said. “And what if I’m playing at a high level on first and second downs? Does that mean I get to stay here next year? I don’t know. I just have to continue to do everything I’ve done and when it’s time to compete, I have to play at a high level.” Posluszny, who has started all 113 games he’s played with the Bills and Jags, signed an extension to remain with the Jags until 2017 last April. His cap hits drop, however, from the his peak earnings seasons the past two years. He’s set to occupy $5.17MM of the Jags’ cap this season, and although he can be cut for less than $500K of dead money, cap space isn’t something the Jags are sweating right now. Their $49.3MM available leads the league.
  • Chad Henne did not opt to test the free agent market this year, instead agreeing to another two-year contract in Jacksonville, one that will pay him $8MM in that span. Entering his age-31 season, the former second-round pick of the Dolphins’ prefers the comfort his current role behind Blake Bortles provides as opposed to trying to procure another starting job. “I was hoping it would happen like this just because I enjoy it here … and being in the same system for two years and not having to learn a new one is beneficial,” Henne told media, including O’Halloran. Aside from Chase Daniel‘s $7MM-per-year wages, Henne resides in the top bracket of backup signal-callers in terms of AAV.
  • As is the case in third-round negotiations, Yannick Ngakoue will have some flexibility regarding his rookie contract with the Jaguars. O’Halloran reports Ngakoue will earn at least a $540K salary in 2016 and an $856K signing bonus as part of being selected No. 69 overall. But according to cap expert J.I. Halsell, the Jags rookie pass-rusher can earn up to $456K in additional compensation spread out over the deal’s four years. With the CBA containing no language of what third-rounders will earn precisely, more extensive negotiations are commencing. “It’s just a weird round,” a veteran agent told O’Halloran. “I called the [NFLPA] a couple weeks ago to ask about it, and they said, ‘It’s the wild, wild West.’” Last year’s No. 69 pick, the Texans’ Jaelen Strong, received 62% of that additional compensation figure ($249K of an available $402K), O’Halloran reports, while three picks later, Jaguars guard A.J. Cann booked 75% ($311K) in his rookie pact. It’s a strange financial matrix these third-rounders enter compared to the players slotted above and below them.

Pauline’s Latest: Eagles, Elliott, Mathews, Cook

Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net is back with another round of draft-related updates and rumors at WalterFootball.com, so let’s see what he has for us, with less than two weeks until draft day….

  • If the Eagles select running back Ezekiel Elliott and decide to make Ryan Mathews available, the Cowboys and 49ers would have interest in the veteran, per Pauline. As James Walker of ESPN.com tweets, Elliott feels like the Eagles have shown the most interest in him so far, so it’s possible he’ll end up in Philadelphia. Even in that scenario though, and even if the club was willing to trade Mathews, it’s not clear whether Howie Roseman would be enthusiastic about dealing with a divisional rival or with Chip Kelly‘s team.
  • Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook continues to be plagued by leadership questions, with Pauline hearing that he came off as “flippant and cavalier” during some team interviews. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that he expects Cook to come off the board earlier than many observers expect, which could still be true, since all it takes is one team willing to roll the dice.
  • San Jose State running back Tyler Ervin is drawing interest around the league and could end up as a day two pick, says Pauline. The Panthers, Browns, Texans, Saints, and Patriots have hosted Ervin for pre-draft visits.
  • Vanderbilt linebacker Stephen Weatherly has worked out for the Panthers, Patriots, Colts, and Cardinals, and has visited the Panthers, Broncos, Saints, Raiders, Chiefs, and Vikings. Meanwhile, Maryland linebacker Yannick Ngakoue worked out for the Texans, Cowboys, Saints, Colts, Titans, Ravens, Dolphins, and Patriots, in addition to making several previously-reported visits. Pauline believes both players may come off the board earlier than expected.