JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The franchise tag deadline passed on Wednesday afternoon and disgruntled Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue still hadn’t put his signature on anything.
What exactly does that mean for the Jaguars and Ngakoue, who has been trying to force his way out of Jacksonville for months?
He’s locked in to taking the one-year deal with Jacksonville at roughly $17.788 million if he does ultimately sign. The deadline passing won’t allow Ngakoue to sign a long-term deal with Jacksonville now until after the season. Or, Ngakoue can take a page out of Le’Veon Bell’s playbook and skip the whole season in protest, which, even through Ngakoue’s offseason bluster, seems unlikely.
Ngakoue, who has earned $3,815,142 in his NFL career, according to Spotrac, isn’t likely to leave nearly $18 million guaranteed on the table, regardless of hurt feelings.
Ngakoue has had permission to explore trades with other teams and has beaten the drum on social media the entire offseason for the team to send him elsewhere. Ngakoue even engaged Tony Khan, franchise owner Shad Khan’s son, in a mid-April Twitter exchange that went viral.
But general manager Dave Caldwell said after the draft that offers had not materialized.
“We weren’t able to get a trade. Actually, weren’t even really able to get an offer. So, I think his options are very limited at this point in time,” Caldwell said on April 24.
The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Wednesday that the Jaguars had received multiple offers for Ngakoue, including one that included a Pro Bowl player, but not enough to deal him away.
The #Jaguars have received multiple offers for DE Yannick Ngakoue – including one involving a Pro Bowl player who didn’t fit their system – but not enough value to deal a player of his caliber, per sources. Other teams have been told he’d play on $17.788M tender. Jags in no rush.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 15, 2020
Back to Ngakoue’s options.
Remember Bell, the former Steelers running back who was miffed that the team franchise tagged him in 2018 for the second consecutive season? He’s the only player in the past 20 years who has received that designation and ultimately decided to sit out the season instead of playing for the $14.544 million salary.
Ngakoue, 25, has spent his first four seasons in Jacksonville after being a third-round pick in the 2016 draft. He has 37.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles in his career and is no doubt a disruptive force off the edge.
Ngakoue campaigned for a new contract last offseason and wound up skipping a portion of training camp to try and get one. The team reportedly offered Ngakoue a deal that would pay him $19 million, but he turned it down.
Former executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin shut off negotiations after that and it led to some serious bad blood between the Ngakoue camp and Jaguars that still exists, even with Coughlin no longer part of the organization.
The wording in the NFL’s operations calendar about the franchise tag tender reads:
“At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.”