It is no secret that Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue no longer wants to play in Duval, and although conversations regarding Ngakoue’s situation have seemed to quiet down as of late, apparently nothing has changed.
According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Ngakoue “might not play this season with regard to the franchise tag.” This news isn’t at all surprising, but is the latest development in the Ngakoue contract stalemate saga.
From NFL Now on @nflnetwork: With #Chiefs DL Chris Jones tweeting he might sit out the season if he doesn't get a contract extension, a reminder he might not be alone in that regard amongst tagged players. #Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue remains dug in. pic.twitter.com/JMxEvBG7PB— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 1, 2020
Contract talks fell apart between the Jaguars and Ngakoue last season. Ngakoue held out of training camp in hopes of getting a new deal, but the two sides never reached an agreement. He then reported in early August, saying the front office “had a chance to sign me to a long-term deal, but didn’t get it done.”
#Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue: "They had a chance to sign me for a long-term deal but it didn't get done. It is what it is. I love football, love my teammates, and I'm here to play games."— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) August 4, 2019
Could a deal get done before the season?
"It's out of my hands. I don't even know."
The Jaguars reportedly offered Ngakoue a short-term deal of around $19 million per year, but there was speculation Ngakoue was looking for around $21 million per year, and he of course wanted a longer deal, so he rejected the team’s offer. In any event, he played 15 games in 2019 and wasn’t a distraction during the season.
Then the offseason came and Ngakoue got vocal about his situation and his desire to be traded.
The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I’m thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere. -91— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) March 2, 2020
The Jaguars ended up placing the franchise tag on Ngakoue in March, but he still has not signed the tag.
The relationship between the two parties quickly deteriorated and Ngakoue used social media to air his grievances time and again, even getting into a Twitter spat with part-owner/senior vice president of football technology & analytics, Tony Khan:
I’m not in hiding sir, I’m in isolation getting ready for the draft. I’ve been pretty active on social media in isolation, but you wouldn’t know that since you unfollowed me (again).— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) April 20, 2020
It’s a new regime here sir. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the contributions you made here. That said, tweeting insults at me won’t get you traded any faster. Only good trade compensation will do that. Please redirect your efforts into a more productive outlet— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) April 20, 2020
Just trade me . I don’t need the speech— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) April 20, 2020
There were many other instances of Ngakoue publicly announcing his displeasure for the franchise, which are well documented.
Getting back to the present, the Jaguars and Ngakoue have until July 15 to agree to a multi-year deal — which is just two weeks away — or else Ngakoue is forced to play on the tag (or choose to sit out this season). If he plays on the tag, he will be guaranteed just under $17.8 million in 2020, which would make him one of the top-four highest-paid defensive ends in the NFL. If he sits out, of course, he won’t get that money. As I understand it, since he would not be under contract, Ngakoue would not incur any fines by the team for missing time, either.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, however, Ngakoue still has no immediate plans to sign the tag and still “desires a trade.”
A franchise tag situation to watch approaching July 15: Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue. I’m told nothing has changed with his stance - he still desires a trade - and doesn’t have immediate plans to sign the tag. This could bleed well into training camp, absent deal with a new team.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 1, 2020
The problem with a trade is that Jacksonville will only ship him away for a seemingly high asking price, and apparently no other NFL team has met those demands as of yet.
The situation between Ngakoue and Jacksonville’s brass has not gotten any better throughout the offseason, it seems. It looks more and more like Ngakoue will not be wearing a Jaguars uniform this season, regardless of if he is traded or not.