On Monday, the Jacksonville Jaguars were on the field for the first time in the offseason going through voluntary workouts. And, we already have two updates involving two of their prominent defenders and their participation for this week.
First, fourth year defensive end, Yannick Ngakoue, was at the team facility and going through the meetings and workouts on Monday. This from a report on the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
#Jaguars star pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue was present today at the start of his team’s offseason conditioning program, I’m told. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, he’s already third in franchise history in sacks with 29.5… at age 24.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 15, 2019
Ngakoue is a former third-round pick and is in the final year of his rookie deal in 2019. And, there had been some speculation in North Florida from those that cover the team, on the internet and sports radio, etc., that Ngakoue might sit out part or all of this offseason, while seeking a new contract.
So, far? Not the case.
Still, Ngakoue had 9.5 sacks a year ago and has 29.5 sacks in his first three years in Jacksonville. That is the most by any pass-rusher to start his career over three seasons in team history.
But then, you factor in, that he is scheduled to make just $2 million dollars this season, which is the most in salary of his NFL career, but far below what his productivity level has been with the club. Most of the premier pass rushers in the NFL are making on average at least $8 – 9 million.
So, there is no disputing Ngakoue is vastly underpaid. However, the Jags don’t have much money under the cap currently, and at least for now, Ngakoue is doing right by the team, at the workouts and trying to get a new deal privately.
Meanwhile, Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey is once again a no-show at the beginning of the Jaguars offseason programs. This is not anything unusual for the fourth year, former number 1 pick out of FSU, as he has spent every offseason working with his father at his Nashville, Tennessee, football and fitness training facility.
And while Ramsey is entering the final year of his deal that is slated to pay him $3.6 million dollars, he has already received a $15.1 million signing bonus and has been paid over $19 million to date. The team did pick up the fifth year option on his deal, which is currently valued at $23.5 million.
Obviously, Ramsey and his representatives would want to get a long term new deal done this off season, but again, the Jags have real issues at the moment against the cap. Picking up the option has bought the team some time, for now.
Another difference from Ngakoue and is that Ramsey has been a problem off the field, including having been suspended last year along with teammate Dante Fowler for their conduct in August in a training camp fracas between Fowler and Ngakoue.
At almost the same time, Ramsey was quoted in a GQ article blasting opposing quarterbacks and coming off as classless and making more problems for the team overall. The Jags and Ramsey obviously flopped last year going 5-11.
So, VP of football Tom Coughlin, GM Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone all have a challenge in trying to balance Ramsey’s off field headaches with his talent in the defensive backfield and a long-term deal.
However, at least for now, he’s not been an off field headache and they have Ngakoue wanting to prove himself in the right way, too.
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