JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue says his days in a Jaguars uniform are over.
Monday morning, he posted a message on Twitter, saying “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.”
News4Jax sports analyst Mark Brunell said the tweet is all part of negotiating.
“I really think that is all this is. It’s certainly no time to panic. For decades, players and their agents have been saying things like this back and forth with organizations. It’s part of negotiating,” Brunell said. “I think Yannick Ngakoue will be a Jaguar. They’re just going back and forth and playing the negotiating game.”
And listen, anything that he says right now could certainly be walked back if the Jaguars gave him what he wanted. Now the Jaguars are in a position where you can’t just give a player whatever he asks for. Two sides have to come together to make this thing work. So I think it’s a bit of an overreaction right now. Everybody is mad at the Jaguars. And, of course, they were mad at the Jaguars before today happened. So (it’s) time for cooler heads to prevail. I think Yannick Ngakoue will be a Jaguar. They’re just going back and forth and playing the negotiating game.
The Jaguars have had one rough spell after another.
Linebacker Telvin Smith abruptly announced his retirement last summer. Franchise quarterback Nick Foles was done in by injury and ineffectiveness, and his salary and cap hit are exorbitant, making a deal to move on very costly.
Pro Bowl corner Jalen Ramsey leveraged his way to a trade last year. The NFLPA had a scathing rebuke of the franchise last December over excessive fines and not adhering to the collective bargaining agreement. That led to the firing of executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin. The team finished 5-11.
The start of the offseason hasn’t gone well. Owner Shad Khan’s announced that a second home game was headed to London in 2020, causing significant friction among the fanbase. And now, Ngakoue’s very public decision that he wants out only continues what has been a steady drumbeat of negativity.
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
Ngakoue will be a free agent later this month, and he reportedly wants to be the highest-paid defensive end in the league at around $22 million per season.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Jaguars plan to use the franchise tag on Ngakoue, and he informed the team he will not sign a long-term deal.
Ngakoue held out for 11 days during training camp last year as he tried to get the team to give him a new contract. The Jaguars reportedly offered Ngakoue a deal in the $19 million range, but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement.