In the past Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has made it clear he no longer wishes to continue his career with in Jacksonville, not unlike former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey did just after week three of the regular season in 2019.
This time, however Ngakoue put it on the record while sitting down in an interview with ESPN, there were no hidden meanings behind his messages today.
“What happened to be there in Jacksonville was very simple,” Ngakoue began. “The organization had the opportunity to keep me long-term last offseason and things kinda broke off. So everything happens for a reason, and not everything lasts forever. Things come to an end, and it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my career and I’m forever thankful for what Jacksonville has brought to me and my family, but it’s time to move on.”
Last offseason, the Jaguars were deep in contract negotiations with Ngakoue before former EVP of football operations Tom Coughlin reportedly ended the talks, not willing to meet Ngakoue’s demands. This forced the young pass rusher to reevaluate his stance with the organization, ultimately deciding to hold out for 11 days in protest of not receiving a contract extension.
Eventually, the relationship between the player and the organization completely severed, unlikely to be revived when Ngakoue announced via social media that his time was up in Jacksonville.
While there has been media speculation upon which teams the Jaguars have been in contact with as far as trade negotiations, at this time the Jaguars have not participated in any contract negotiations with teams, although teams are intrigued and have gauged interest in the past.
Ngakoue did not go so far as to name any prospective teams he has his eyes on, however he did offer a glimpse into his thought process. He wants to win, and participate in a winning culture. The Jaguars over the first four years of his career have won a total of 24 games, and have won more than six games only once, in 2017.
“I really want to be apart of a team that has great culture and winning is a habit,” Ngakoue said when asked which team he would want to land with via trade. “I don’t want to be part of of a team where losing is a norm or anything of that nature. I wanna be part of something special.”
The star pass rusher doesn’t just view himself as a top 10 pass rusher, he views himself in the “top three”, he says, not able to fully showcase his talents due to the Jaguars rarely being placed in prime time slots. The Jaguars have participated in three night games, other than the playoffs, in his career.
“Getting sacks is a thing that people always harp on, ‘getting sacks’, but it’s not always about getting sacks, it’s about getting the ball out,” Ngakoue said when asked why he views himself as a top-three defensive end in the NFL.
“For a player that’s on the defensive side of the ball to be able to get the ball out, it’s basically making him an offensive player. I look at myself as an offensive guy, because any offense I’ve played with when they’re in detrimental situations they look for me to get the ball back.”
While Ngakoue does hold the second-most sacks in team history at 37.5, many have harped on the fact that he’s gone over 10 only one time thus far in his career (12.5, 2017). However, Ngakoue has been one of the league’s most valuable players in terms of taking the ball away. In his four-year career, Ngakoue has forced 14 fumbles, the fourth-most by any player since 2016.
The Jaguars and Ngakoue will have until July 15th to come to terms on a long-term deal, if one were to ever occur. At this point all signs point to Ngakoue being traded at some point, potentially prior to the draft just over two weeks from today.