The Jaguars have a potential hold-out looming involving one of their outstanding defensive players. But, for now, Yannick Ngakoue has decided to participate in offseason work and let his play and his attitude do the talking for him.
Ngakoue met with the Jacksonville media after Tuesday’s OTA workout and expressed what his intentions are, while trying to get a new deal:
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) May 21, 2019
When asked about whether he’s been keeping track of what the top defensive ends are making in 2019?
Ngakoue answered, “That’s not a secret. We all can go on the computer and see what they’re gettin’… At the end of the day it’s a blessing to be in that position and I’m thankful.”
When pressed on whether he thinks he’s a $100 million player? Ngakoue remained professional with his response, “Money don’t mean nothin’, but I know what I’m worth.”
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.
But, the bigger problem is obviously financial, as Ngakoue made $735,000 a year ago. And, even though he’s had a performance bonus kick in for his base salary for 2019, that’s still at just over $2 million, which is woefully under paid for being a pass-rushing defensive end with the kind of success he’s shown.
So the question now becomes: will in Ngakoue continue to participate in Jacksonville workouts come July, when mandatory training camp begins or could he become the latest off the field “headache” for VP of Football, Tom Coughlin, GM Dave Caldwell and Coach Doug Marrone?
The Jags are already dealing with the mysterious departure of starting middle linebacker and captain, Telvin Smith. Smith informed the team 10 days ago that he does not intend to play this season and would forgo over $9 and 1/2 million in salary. It is still not clear what the reason is that Smith doesn’t want to show up, and obviously, he still could change his mind and show up later this summer or as preparation for the season gets underway.
Also take into account the defensive back Jalen Ramsey is not participating currently in the OTA practices (which he’s not done all of his three years) and the Jaguars have to decide if they will give him a monstrous contract as he enters the final year of his rookie deal?
The Jaguars have already announced that they picked up the 5th year option on Ramsey’s contract, but you get the feeling that they will make a decision long before next March about whether he’s sticking around long-term or not.
Back to Ngakoue, he is obviously benefited from having a veteran like perennial pro bowler Calais Campbell helping him on the defensive. Still, Campbell cashed in with a huge free-agent deal two years ago to come in North Florida from the Arizona Cardinals. And at this point no one can blame Ngakoue, if he’s looking to get paid at least the average of the top defensive ends in the NFL.
And that’s at least five times what he’s slated to make this season.
So, we now wait to see whether the Jags front office and owner Shad Khan will make a commitment to Ngakoue, as things go along or run the risk that he may choose to sit out when it matters more this fall.