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Report: Yannick Ngakoue could return to the Jaguars

ESPN’s Michael DiRocco hinted at a potential reunion on Tuesday

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran signings are not a priority in NFL buildings right now. The 2023 NFL Draft is less than 48 hours away, and any free agent additions (coming from another team) will count against the league’s compensatory pick formula until May 1.

That said, front offices are still paying attention to veterans on the market who could fill in any remaining roster holes post-draft.

For the Jacksonville Jaguars, one of their former players fits the bill.

ESPN’s Michael DiRocco told 1010XL radio on Tuesday:

It would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to bring a guy in and Yannick Ngakoue’s a name I hear a lot.

I just don’t know if he’s willing to accept that role and I think the money he’s asking for — from what I’ve heard — is not in an area the Jaguars are willing to go at this point. That’ll be interesting to keep an eye on after the draft.

I hear that he’s potentially interested in coming back, but he wants to be an every-down guy. He’s certainly asking for the best contract he can get, but I think the Jaguars can be a little bit patient and play a little bit of a waiting game on some of these guys because as we get into May and we get into June and some of these guys are still not signed, well, things start getting a little bit desperate in their camp and you can get a little bit better deal on some of these guys.

The Jaguars selected Ngakoue in the third round of the 2016 draft with the 69th overall pick. In 2017, he helped “Sacksonville” reach the AFC championship game and earned a Pro Bowl invite after recording a career-high 12 sacks and league-leading six forced fumbles.

When his rookie deal expired in 2020, Ngakoue didn’t receive the contract offer he wanted, which led to a trade request and Twitter spat with Tony Khan. Jacksonville placed its franchise tag on Ngakoue before trading him to Minnesota for a second-rounder. He spent the next few years bouncing around Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Indianapolis.

It’s concerning to see a player start for five different teams across four seasons, and Ngakoue has been borderline useless against the run since he entered the league. However, he also happens to be a world-class quarterback chaser: only Aaron Donald, T.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan, Chandler Jones, Myles Garrett, and Khalil Mack have more sacks than Ngakoue since 2016.

His present-day fit in Jacksonville makes a lot of sense. The Jaguars need more help rushing the passer on third downs (especially with Arden Key and Dawuane Smoot no longer rostered). In clear passing situations, Ngakoue could be the defense’s primary edge rusher opposite Josh Allen, which would allow Travon Walker to demolish the pocket from the interior.

How would you feel about Yann coming back, Jaguars fans?