Yannick Ngakoue

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Jefferson, Broncos, Massie

During an appearance on HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady discussed his reactions to a potential 2020 free agent suitor pulling out of the sweepstakes to stick with their incumbent signal-caller.

“There was a story, in free agency, one of the teams, they were interested and all of sudden they weren’t interested at the very end,” Brady said. “I was sitting there thinking, you’re stick with that [expletive]? Are you serious?

“When I look back I’m like, there’s no [expletive] way I would’ve went to that team. But they said they didn’t want me. I know what that means, I know what that feels like.”

There’s been plenty of speculation about the mystery team and quarterback that Brady was referring to, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com cites multiple league sources who believe the future Hall of Famer was referring to the Raiders and Derek Carr. Las Vegas had been mentioned as a potential Brady suitor during the 2020 offseason, but the organization dropped out of the sweepstakes after balking at Brady’s long list of requests. As Florio notes, Brady had his chance at payback last season, when he tossed four touchdowns in a 45-20 Tampa Bay victory over Las Vegas.

Unless Brady unexpectedly reveals who he was talking about, we’ll never truly know if it was the Raiders. Plenty of other teams and quarterbacks have been mentioned, including the Bears/Mitch Trubisky and the Titans/Ryan Tannehill. The 49ers and former teammate Jimmy Garoppolo have been a popular suggestion, but considering Brady’s lifelong affinity for San Francisco (and his declaration that he was never going to sign with that team in the first place), we can probably cross them off the list.

Here’s more out of the AFC West…

  • Quinton Jefferson has played all over the defensive line during his five-year career, but despite the Raiders depth at defensive tackle, the team is still planning to play their free agent acquisition at his natural position. The 28-year-old will be teaming up with the Raiders main offseason acquisition, defensive tackle Yannick Ngakoue, and Jefferson is excited to form a two-headed monster with his good friend and former college teammate. “Yannick is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL right now and he brings that intensity,” Jefferson told The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “He is going to bring some pressure and help relieve Maxx (Crosby), free Maxx up so that other teams can’t key on one guy. And then hopefully I can bring some interior pressure as well, so we should have a good mix out there. I am excited to see how that all comes together.”
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post explores several Broncos players who find themselves on the roster bubble prior to training camp and the preseason. Atop his list is defensive tackle McTelvin Agim, a 2020 third-round pick who was limited to only 110 defensive snaps as a rookie. O’Halloran notes that it’s troubling that the young defensive lineman wasn’t working with the starters during minicamp despite the absences of Mike Purcell and Shelby Harris. Offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, running back Royce Freeman, safety Trey Marshall, and linebacker Derrek Tuszka also earned spots on the list.
  • The Broncos brought in both Bobby Massie and Cameron Fleming to compete for the starting right tackle spot, and ESPN’s Jeff Legwold believes Massie will get the first shot at the gig. Massie certainly has the advantage when it comes to experience; the 31-year-old has started 110 of his 118 career games, including each of his eight games in 2020. Meanwhile, Fleming has mostly served as backup throughout his career (91 games, 42 starts), although he did start a career-high 16 games for the Giants last season.

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Sutton, Chubb

When the Raiders selected Damon Arnette 19th overall last year, it marked the second straight year the Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime stunned draft viewers in Round 1. Despite multiple thumb issues and a placement on the Raiders’ reserve/COVID-19 list, Arnette started seven games as a rookie. Pro Football Focus graded Arnette as a bottom-10 cornerback, however, and the Raiders may not have the Ohio State product in their lineup plans this year. Arnette has nearly drifted off the Raiders’ radar, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes, adding that Casey Hayward is expected to line up as Las Vegas’ outside corner starter opposite Trayvon Mullen (subscription required). While a few lower-profile corners’ names surfaced during Raiders minicamp this week, Arnette’s was conspicuously absent, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal adds. Talk surfaced last month of Arnette moving into the slot, but Tafur adds that job looks like Nevin Lawson‘s to lose. Arnette did not practice in the slot during minicamp.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Yannick Ngakoue is in search of a new agent. The recently signed Raiders defensive end left the Wasserman agency this week, according to the Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (on Twitter). This is not a first for the former Jaguars, Vikings and Ravens pass rusher. He left his first NFL agent in May 2018 and made another change last August. Ngakoue’s next agent will be his fourth as a pro. Ngakoue signed a two-year, $26MM deal with the Raiders in March; that pact featured $21MM fully guaranteed.
  • Numerous key players missed extensive time for the Broncos last season, but the team received good news as it prepares for its next training camp. One of the biggest names to miss Denver’s 5-11 2020 slate, Courtland Sutton is not expected to start camp on the team’s active/PUP list, Vic Fangio said this week. The Pro Bowl wide receiver suffered an ACL tear in Week 2 of last season. Neither Sutton nor Bradley Chubb, who is rehabbing offseason ankle surgery, are likely to miss camp time, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. Chubb needed bone spurs removed from his ankle.
  • Bashaud Breeland moved on from the Chiefs after two seasons, signing with the Vikings. But the veteran cornerback initially wanted to re-sign with the Chiefs.

Raiders To Sign Yannick Ngakoue

The Raiders have struck a deal with Yannick Ngakoue. The former Ravens linebacker will head to Las Vegas a two-year, $26MM deal, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets

Jon Gruden has been eyeing Ngakoue since his Jaguars days. The Vikings and Ravens got him first, but Gruden now has his man. The deal will reunite Ngakoue with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as the Raiders look to rekindle their pass rush. Ever since the Khalil Mack trade three years ago, they’ve struggled to generate consistent pressure.

Ngakoue, who turns 26 later this month, is set to enter his sixth season as a pro. With 45.5 career sacks to his credit, he’s a difference-maker — even if the Ravens didn’t use him all that much in the playoffs.

Ngakoue projects to lead a Raiders edge group that also features Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell hasn’t lived up to Gruden’s expectations since he was drafted (and, arguably, reached for), but Ngakoue can help cover his deficiencies.

Ngakoue is not particularly strong against the run, but he 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 forced 14 fumbles in that stretch and he directly responsible for five of the 12 defensive touchdowns the Jaguars scored between 2016 and 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders, Yannick Ngakoue Close To Deal

The Raiders are close to landing one of the top edge rushers available. Yannick Ngakoue and the Raiders are nearing an agreement, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Las Vegas moved onto the Ngakoue radar last year, and the team has a big need for pass-rushing help. Ngakoue, whom two teams traded last year, would certainly help provide that valuable skill.

While Ngakoue rose to prominence during Doug Marrone‘s Jaguars tenure, he came to Jacksonville during Gus Bradley‘s tenure. The Raiders hired Bradley as their defensive coordinator earlier this year. This would be a big get for a team that has struggled to pressure quarterbacks since trading Khalil Mack nearly three years ago.

Despite having played five seasons, Ngakoue will only turn 26 at the end of this month. The former third-round pick has registered 45.5 career sacks. Although the Ravens did not use him extensively in the playoffs, Ngakoue still posted eight sacks in Baltimore and Minnesota last year. The Jags placed the franchise tag on him in 2020 and traded him to the Vikings, after the Raiders had shown interest. The Vikings then shipped him to the Ravens. It looks like the veteran defensive end will land his long-sought-after long-term deal soon.

If signed, Ngakoue would lead a Raiders edge group housing Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. The latter’s difficulties establishing himself as a reliable pass rusher amplified Las Vegas’ need for edge aid.

Ravens To Let Judon, Ngakoue Walk?

After featuring two franchise-tagged edge defenders last season, the Ravens’ pass rush may be in for considerable change in 2021. A sizable chunk of their outside linebacker contributors from 2020 are free agents, and the top two may be set for free agency for the first time.

The Ravens retained Matt Judon via the franchise tag last year and traded for Yannick Ngakoue, who received the tag from the Jaguars before being shipped to the Vikings. Baltimore may let both free agents go, with Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com noting the team is expected to part ways with Ngakoue and will not re-sign Judon.

This would be quite the shakeup for the Ravens, but sticking to a price point with edge rushers is not out of character for the team. Baltimore let Paul Kruger, Pernell McPhee and Za’Darius Smith walk in recent years and said goodbye to Terrell Suggs in 2019 as well. The team also did not match the Jets’ market-resetting offer for off-ball ‘backer C.J. Mosley two years ago.

It would cost the Ravens just more than $20MM to franchise Judon for a second time. Judon said earlier this year a Ravens return would need to line up perfectly, and the longtime Baltimore contributor looks set to be a first-time free agent. It will come at a key point, with the ex-Division II standout set to turn 29 this year. Judon has been a key Ravens rusher over the past four seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in each of the past two. Although the former fifth-round pick does not have a 10-sack season on his resume, he posted 33 QB hits in 2019.

Ngakoue moving on would be less surprising. He recorded three regular-season sacks as a Raven but played sparingly in the team’s two playoff games. This will be the former third-round pick’s first go-round in free agency. The former Jaguars standout will only turn 26 this year.

McPhee has since returned to the Ravens, agreeing to two one-year pacts after each of the past two drafts. The 10-year veteran would like to stay in Baltimore, and Hensley views that scenario as realistic. Tyus Bowser may also be in play to return on a low-cost deal. Derek Wolfe is also a free agent, but the longtime Broncos defensive lineman also wants to re-sign with the Ravens. The team would like the 30-year-old defender back as well, Hensley adds. Still, Judon and Ngakoue departing would create a major need for the team going into free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Notes: Packers, McKinley, Alexander

We heard earlier today that the Packers were eying Texans wideout Will Fuller, but there were reportedly disagreements among high-level Packers officials on whether they should make a play for a receiver. While head coach Matt LaFleur said he was unsure if “anything ever got that serious,” he was sure that he’s on the same page with general manager Brian Gutekunst.

“I have no idea where anything like that would ever come from,” LaFleur said of the reports (via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky). “We’re in constant communication, we’re on the same page and there is no truth to that. I promise you that.”

While receiver Davante Adams expressed confidence in his teammates, he previously acknowledged that he’d welcome some help at the position.

“I wouldn’t say we necessarily need to, because I think we’ve shown what we can do,” Adams said. “When I went down, guys stepped up and did what they had to do. Stepped up big. I wouldn’t say it’s a need. Obviously, I’ve said this before, I don’t think it’s any secret that could help us potentially. I wouldn’t be opposed to it. It could help us. But I definitely got full faith and trust in my guys here to be able to get it done.”

As Demovsky notes, the Packers could be getting some reinforcement at the position, as receiver Allen Lazard could return this weekend. The 24-year-old had eight catches for 146 yards and one score in Week 3, but he’s been sidelined since undergoing core muscle surgery.

Some more trade notes from around the NFL:

  • The Falcons were seeking a fourth-round pick for defensive end Takkarist McKinley, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter). We heard last week that the former first-rounder was on the trade block, but the 25-year-old declared last night that he wasn’t going anywhere. McKinley has compiled only eight tackles and one sack in four games this season, and he hasn’t played more than 40-percent of his team’s defensive snaps since Week 1.
  • After acquiring defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in a preseason trade with the Jaguars, the Vikings traded the veteran to the Ravens back in October. ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes that the trade conditions from the conditional fifth-rounder that Minnesota sent Jacksonville still apply. That fifth-rounder will turn into a fourth-rounder if Ngakoue goes to the Pro Bowl (with the Ravens). It’s worth noting that the Vikings received a conditional fifth-rounder in their trade with Baltimore, and there’s a good chance that selection contains many of the same conditions.
  • The pick the Dolphins received in the Isaiah Ford trade with the Patriots is a conditional sixth-rounder, tweets Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Howe adds that the pick could turn into a seventh-rounder if the conditions aren’t met.
  • The conditional fifth-round pick that the Saints sent the 49ers in the Kwon Alexander trade has a bit more intrigue. The MMQB’s Albert Breer tweets that it’s a 2022 pick that’s heading to San Francisco, although that could turn into a 2021 selection based on “play-time markers.”
  • Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup was presumably never on the block, as VP Stephen Jones said last week that the organization wouldn’t be trading the 24-year-old (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota on Twitter). Following a breakout 2019 campaign, Gallup has disappointed a bit in 2020, hauling in 26 receptions for 432 yards and one score through eight games (seven starts).

Trade Notes: Vikings, Giants, Dunlap, Jets

The Vikings greenlit this season’s biggest trade thus far by sending Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens for third- and fifth-round picks. While GM Rick Spielman said the team is not waving a white flag on its 2020 season, Albert Breer of SI.com notes the Vikings are willing to make more seller’s trades. Teams have contacted them about Kyle Rudolph, their 10th-year tight end who is in the first season of his latest Minnesota extension. The Vikings signed Rudolph to a four-year, $36MM extension but did so shortly after drafting Irv Smith Jr. in the second round. While Breer notes the Vikes are open for business on contract-year players, the soon-to-be 31-year-old Rudolph would make sense as a trade chip as well. He was a trade candidate before he signed his extension. Guard Pat Elflein and franchise-tagged safety Anthony Harris are the Vikings’ highest-profile contract-year players.

Here is the latest from the trade market:

  • While this year’s NFC East could be historically bad, the Giants are 1-6 and in a seller’s position again. They have fielded calls on Kevin Zeitler and Golden Tate, according to Breer. Tate has been a deadline chip before, with the Lions sending him to the Eagles in 2018. Tate’s through-2022 contract, thanks to a PED suspension in 2019, contains no more guaranteed money. Zeitler’s deal runs through 2021. The upper-echelon guard has more than $5MM in salary remaining this season and is due a $12MM base in 2021. The Giants acquired Zeitler via trade in 2019.
  • Washington has lost five straight and is also willing to listen on veterans, per Breer. Two that have come up: edge defenders Ryan Kerrigan and Ryan Anderson. The former is Washington’s all-time sack leader; he has three this season for a deep D-line group. But Washington drafted Montez Sweat and Chase Young in the past two first rounds, creating a rare surplus that has moved Kerrigan to a rotational role. Kerrigan and Anderson are in contract years.
  • Carlos Dunlap took issue with the Bengals demoting him, joining Geno Atkins in voicing frustration about playing time. The Bengals were not eager to deal veterans last year, despite their struggles in a 2-14 season, but Breer adds teams view Dunlap as available for trade. Dunlap is Cincinnati’s all-time sack leader but still played a part-time role for the team last week, despite Sam Hubbard‘s IR placement. The Bengals are expected to cut Dunlap in 2021.
  • The Jets dealt nose tackle Steve McLendon to the Buccaneers shortly after their Week 6 game, and in a rare development, McLendon knew he would be a postgame trade piece a day in advance. The Jets interestingly opted not to hold him out of last week’s game. “I got the news on Saturday night that a car would be waiting for me after the game Sunday to come to Tampa,” McLendon said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “I was like, ‘OK.’ Sunday morning, I woke up, I prayed, and I was like, ‘This is one last ride.’ A lot of guys were saying, ‘Man, you’re really gonna play?’ And I was like, ‘Man, this could be the last time I play with y’all in my career.'” The 11th-year veteran will now be tasked with replacing Vita Vea.
  • Traded players must go through similar protocols to free agency additions. They must pass a COVID-19 test for five days straight and pass a sixth on the day they enter the facility. This formed the Ravens‘ timetable on their Ngakoue trade, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (on Twitter), in order for the defensive end to practice Wednesday and play against the Steelers next week.

Vikings Trade Yannick Ngakoue To Ravens

The Vikings are finalizing a trade to send defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. In exchange, the Vikings will receive a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick. 

The Vikings acquired Ngakoue from the Jaguars earlier this year for a 2021 second-round pick and 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to Jags. They weren’t able to recoup everything they gave up, but they did manage to get a decent amount of draft capital for the mercurial edge rusher.

After COVID testing, Ngakoue will be able to join the Ravens in practice during their bye week. His first game with Baltimore will come next Sunday, against the Steelers. The Ravens have been chasing Ngakoue for the last few months, and the interest has been mutual. Ngakoue, a Maryland native and a Terrapin alum, will debut with his third pro team in familiar surroundings. The deal also reunites Ngakoue with Calais Campbell, who played together and started together in the Jaguars’ 2017 AFC Championship Game.

We are excited to add Yannick Ngakoue to our football team,” Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said in a statement. “Yannick is someone who we are very familiar with going back to the draft process years ago. He is an exciting player and a dangerous pass rusher who makes us better. Yannick grew up here. He’s the type of person we welcome in our building. Finally, we are not finished building this team, as we continue to chase our ultimate goals.”

The Ravens and Jags were deep in talks at one point, but the Ravens’ salary cap situation ultimately prevented a deal from happening. Ultimately, Ngakoue agreed to reduce his 2020 salary from ~$18MM to $12MM in order to facilitate a trade to the Vikings. 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. Today, they had more room to work with, thanks to help from Brandon Williams and other reworked deals.

Ngakoue figures to provide a major boost for the 5-1 Ravens. Meanwhile, the trade reads as something of a white flag for the Vikings, who are 1-5 and quickly falling out of playoff contention.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.