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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Ngakoue poised for breakout season

Roy Cummings

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Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

Short of suffering through a significant slide in production, there is nothing that second-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will do this year that will surprise the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Nothing Ngakoue does this year will surprise NFL Network analyst Peter Schrager all that much either.

Schrager has been tracking the Ngakoue bandwagon since his brother in law wondered why he wasn’t being talked about as a potential first-round pick prior to the 2016 NFL Draft and has suddenly jumped aboard in a big way.

For a segment on the NFL Network’s  Good Morning Football show, Schrager broke down his five non-skill position breakout players for the 2017 season and Ngakoue came in at No. 3.

As you can see from the video, Schrager points out that Ngakoue is coming off a truly remarkable season, one that put him in the same company as two of the game’s most disruptive players.

In addition to Ngakoue, the only players to record eight or more sacks and four or more forced fumbles last year were Khalil Mack of the Raiders and Cameron Wake of the Dolphins.

That truly is elite company and it’s worth noting that Wake, who actually had 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles, produced his numbers while playing just 51-percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

That’s important because there’s a chance that with the addition of Calais Campbell, Ngakoue could actually see his playing time drop a bit from where it was a year ago.

Ngakoue played 65-percent of the snaps last year and will probably be part of a two-man platoon yet again this season, but with the right matchups, he can still make a major impact. At least as a pass rusher.

Though he has ideal size for an edge rusher, the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Ngakoue still has a ways to go to become an every-down player because he’s still not stout enough at the point of attack to be a sound run stopper.

The Buccaneers have a similar situation with a second-year player of their own, Noah Spence, who could be in for a breakout season of his own. As far as Schrager is concerned, though, Ngakoue’s a step ahead of him.

And most everyone else as well. There’s little question then that Ngakoue will be one of the Jaguars players worth watching closely once the season begins in a few days.

 

 

 

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

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.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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 was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

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?

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