Yannick Ngakoue

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.

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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.

Draft Rumors: Cravens, Lions, Dolphins, Raiders

USC safety/linebacker Su’a Cravens says he has six visits lined up and another eight potentially on the horizon as well, Mike Florio of PFT writes. In addition to the previously reported teams with interest, Cravens says he will visit the the Lions, Raiders, and Dolphins.

Here are the latest draft rumors:

  • Maryland outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue said he has visits scheduled with the Jaguars, Eagles, Titans, and Jets, according to Daniel Gallen of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (on Twitter) adds that the Bills and Browns both met with him today.
  • Boise State lineman Rees Odhiambo will meet with the 49ers, Saints, and Buccaneers in the next couple of weeks, agent Ron Slavin tells Jay Tust of KTVB (on Twitter).
  • Ohio State safety Vonn Bell has (or has had) meetings, workouts and/or visits with the Jets, Patriots, Panthers, and Giants, Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • South Carolina offensive lineman Brandon Shell says he has individual workouts coming up with the Panthers, Ravens, and 49ers, David Caraviello of the Post And Courier tweets.
  • Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland told SiriusXM NFL Radio (on Twitter) that he has probably heard the most from the Bears, Falcons, Saints, and Dolphins. He also confirmed personal workouts with the Bears, ColtsRavens, Jaguars, Vikings, Rams, and the Bills.
  • Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd confirmed that he has had workouts with the Cowboys, Patriots, Chargers, and Rams (Twitter link via SiriusXM). He’ll also have formal visits with the Panthers and Cowboys next week.
  • Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Moore has visits/workouts scheduled with the Buccaneers, Panthers, Texans, Eagles, and Bengals, Jenna Laine of Sports Talk 1040 tweets.
  • Defensive line coaches from the Eagles, Titans, Steelers, and Bengals put Javon Hargrave through a workout which lasted almost 45 minutes, according to Tony Pauline for Walter Football.
  • The Cardinals are bringing in linebacker Victor Ochi for an official visit, Pauline writes.

Draft Notes: Hargreaves, Prescott, Cowboys

Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves has visits lined up with eight clubs, including the Jaguars, Ravens, Cowboys, and Buccaneers, reports Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter link). Hargreaves, considered one of the best defensive backs available in the draft, will probably garner interest from any team picking in the top 15.

Let’s take a look at some more draft news and notes…

  • The Cowboys have scheduled a private workout with Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Wilson says the meeting will take place today, while Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) says the workout will occur on Monday, but regardless of the specifics, Prescott could make sense as a mid-round pick for the Cowboys. Prescott, who was arrested for DUI last week, has also met with the Panthers, Steelers, and Browns, per Wilson.
  • Prescott isn’t the only Mississippi State prospect to workout for the Cowboys, as Wilson reports (via Twitter) that receiver Robert Johnson will also audition for the club on Monday.
  • The Texans are doing their due diligence prior to the draft, as Wilson details in a story for the Houston Chronicle, reporting that the club worked out Maryland edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
  • Cal tight end Stephen Anderson has visits and/or workouts set up with the Patriots, Titans, Falcons, and Texans, tweets Getlin.
  • The Saints will work out Boston College safety Justin Simmons this week, a source tells Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com. Simmons has also drawn interest from the Lions.

Extra Points: Texans, Browns, Prospects

Some assorted notes from around the NFL and NCAA…

  • B.J. Danielscontract with the Texans is worth $660K over two seasons, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The quarterback will earn $60K this season and $600K in 2016.
  • Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer expects Browns center Alex Mack to explore free agency this offseason, and the writer believes the veteran will receive some interest from other clubs. Due to the disappointment of first-round pick Cameron Erving, Pluto still thinks Cleveland could spend to keep their Pro Bowl lineman.
  • The Florida Gators will have a number of talented players to replace heading into 2016. Coach Jim McElwain confirmed underclassmen running back Kelvin Taylor, receiver Demarcus Robinson, and defensive end Alex McCalister will all enter the NFL Draft. All this is in addition to cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who is expected to be a top-10 pick this offseason.
  • Maryland defensive end Quinton Jefferson has also declared his intentions to enter the NFL Draft, according to the Baltimore Sun. He made the announcement via his Twitter account. He joins his opposite bookend Yannick Ngakoue in leaving the Terrapins early for the pros.

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.