On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings agreed to a deal for Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The Jaguars franchise tagged Ngakoue earlier this offseason, but the 25-year-old hasn’t signed his $17.788 million tender. Ngakoue made it clear he wanted out of Jacksonville, and he’s getting his wish.
In return for Ngakoue, the Vikings sent a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round selection to Jacksonville. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the fifth-round pick can become a fourth-rounder if Ngakoue is a first-ballot Pro Bowler in 2020. It could upgrade to a third-round selection if Ngakoue is a first-ballot Pro Bowler and Minnesota wins the Super Bowl.
Ngakoue made his first and only Pro Bowl appearance during Jacksonville’s incredible 2017 campaign. The Jaguars went 10-6 that season and made it to the AFC Championship game. However, Jacksonville finished last in the AFC South in each of the past two seasons, never recapturing the magic from 2017.
The continuous failures led to the Jaguars tearing down their defense, which served as the driving force in the team’s breakout campaign. In 2018, Jacksonville traded Dante Fowler Jr. to the Rams. A year later, Jalen Ramsey joined his former teammate in Los Angeles. This offseason alone, the Jaguars traded away A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell. Conditions became insufferable for Ngakoue.
A contract dispute fueled Ngakoue’s break with the Jaguars. He fumed at not getting an extension and swore off ever donning Jacksonville’s uniform again. Ngakoue even got in a Twitter fight with Tony Khan, a Jaguars executive and son of owner Shad Khan.
After a tumultuous offseason, the Jaguars finally gave up on getting a better deal for Ngakoue, accepting Minnesota’s offer. The former Pro Bowler finds himself paired with Danielle Hunter, one of the NFL’s fastest-rising pass-rushers. Hunter recorded 14.5 sacks in each of the past two seasons, and he has 48.5 sacks since Ngakoue entered the league.
Ngakoue ‘s arrival comes at the perfect time for Minnesota. The team lost long-time defensive anchor Everson Griffen in free agency and desperately needed an injection of new talent. Ngakoue, who registered 37.5 sacks during his four seasons in Jacksonville, gives Minnesota one of the league’s best pass-rushing duos.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Ngakoue took less money to join the Vikings. His revised deal is for one year and roughly $12 million, which is significantly short of what Jacksonville owed the star defensive end. The contract also leaves a option for Minnesota to franchise tag Ngakoue next season if an extension isn’t reached.
While the Vikings continue stocking up talent for a playoff push, the Jaguars have no intention of competing for a title this season. After selling off most of their best defensive players, the Jaguars have six selections in the first four rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. Barring any unforeseen success, Jacksonville is a frontrunner in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
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