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.
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?