No matter where you look or who you listen to, it’s become apparent that if the Jaguars want to see defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on the field making an impact as a pass-rusher for their defense this season, they better be ready to open up the checkbook.
Jaguars beat writer Philip Heilman of Jacksonville. Com wrote Thursday about some research he’s done on just how much money it will cost to have the fourth-year defensive in sign on long-term in North Florida?
His take: "For a player like this, you are probably looking at a contract that exceeds that of Clark and Lawrence." https://t.co/TWVQ1u1U6L
— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) June 20, 2019
As we have written earlier this month, Ngakoue decided to stay away from Jaguars mandatory minicamp, because he is unhappy with progress towards a new long-term deal. And, it’s obvious that unless the Jaguars come up with an offer somewhere in the neighborhood a $15 million base salary per season, he may be sitting out for awhile this fall.
That’s because, led by the Chargers Melvin Ingram and the Cardinals Chandler Jones (both making over $16.5 million for 2019), no one in the top five makes less than $13.6 million in base salary this year. Ngakoue is slaed to make just over $2 million in the final year of his rookie deal.
As Heilman points out, the Jags have another long term concern coming up, too, as Pro Bowl corner Jalen Ramsey enters the final year of his rookie deal, too. And, Ramsey would command between $16-18 million annually on a new contract, too. This is coupled with Jacksonville having given new QB Nick Foles a four year $88 million contract that has a team record $50.1 million in guarantees.
Finally, the biggest decision for V.P. of Football Tom Coughlin and GM Dave Caldwell is: is Ngakoue truly worth that kind of money?
Ngakoue’s “worth” has been as Jacksonville’s best pass-rusher over his three-year career accumulating 29.5 sacks (9.5 in 2018) and 70 quarterback hits. This after being an unheralded 3rd round draft pick out of Maryland in 2016. Yet, a year ago, Ngakoue made only $735,000, however, that’s in line with the salary of a third rounder, too.
So, the argument can me made that the Jags got their best pass rusher at a huge discount in 2018 and now have to “pony up” to keep him.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.
Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 2020
This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.
Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″
It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially, put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?
Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.
If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.
Caldwell confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.
Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.
Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.
However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.
Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.
However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.
Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.
As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?