It’s one of the top stories in Jaguars camp and five days in, there’s no end in sight, to defensive end Yannick Ngakoue’s hold out. And, for his Pro bowl-caliber defensive teammate Jalen Ramsey, the situation hits a little close to home.
However, on Sunday Ramsey wanted to make it clear that while he’s aware of the situation, he understands both sides of the business.
Ramsey met with the Jaguars media after their Sunday morning practice, which was the fourth one for the team that Ngakoue has not been part of while seeking his contract:
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) July 28, 2019
“Yan is my bruh. I want him here. Everybody know (sic) I want him here. I talk to him literally every single day. But that’s his situation. I ‘aint in no body else pockets,” Ramsey said plainly. “But I understand him at the same time. I think he is one of the best, if not the best edge rushers in all of football. He knows his worth and I respect that. And I hope something gets done sooner rather than later.”
As we have written previously, and Ngakoue was a no show in June, while seeking a massive pay raise from small salary in the final year of his four-year rookie contract.
Ngakoue is slated to make $2 million this season. Or, roughly about an eighth of what the top 5 defensive ends in the NFL make on average ($15.5 million).
He’s been 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. So, you can understand his frustration and wanting a new deal.
And, clearly Ramsey can identify, as he is a man that is looking to get paid massively also by Jacksonville, or someone else, soon. Ramsey even had fun on his Wednesday arrival when he showed up with some comedic flair in a Brinks Truck at TIAA Bank Field.
The former 5th overall pick had the fifth year option of his rookie contract picked up, which will pay him $3.6 million for this year and the option is for a $13.7 million salary next year.
However, it is Ramsey’s hope that he will cash in for much more than that on a multi year deal sooner rather than later.
Just like Ngakoue hopes that his showdown, that has already cost him $200,000 in fines, will result in a new deal soon for him.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.