Yesterday it was reported that the Jaguars are “extremely close” to trading disgruntled pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue, and that a move was imminent.
Ngakoue, similar to Jadeveon Clowney, has been linked to the Eagles through rumors all offseason, so naturally speculation picked up here. While the need isn’t obvious, there are fans/pundits who believe the defense needs an elite edge rusher to take them over the top (consider me among that group).
With that being said, it would be a major mistake to trade a second round draft pick for Ngakoue; and I can all but guarantee that the Eagles aren’t interested in this particular move.
Here’s what I originally wrote about Ngakoue back in March:
“I’m concerned we’re starting to overrate Ngakoue a bit. Sure, he’s a young and established edge rusher—sounds good enough—but you’d be wrong to describe him as ‘elite’ at pressuring the quarterback… His only near-elite level season as a pass rusher came in 2017 where he posted 14 sacks and 82 total pressures, good for a grade of 88.2 according to PFF. However, his numbers took a slight dip in the pressure department over both of the past two seasons, as he graded out at 76.8 and 77.5 (above-average) in ‘18 and ‘19 and failed to record double-digit sacks in either season.”
He’s a solid pass rusher, who’s useless against the run. I understand there’s a skillset in there for someone like Schwartz to unlock, but it’s important for Eagles fans to understand that we wouldn’t be trading for a game-changing player—not even close. This is the Tobias Harris of “high-end” pass rushing.
The two questions we need to ask ourselves in regard to this move are simple—is Ngakoue worth a second round pick? And is he worth a $17M+ per year contract extension?
The answer to the first question is probably yes, but the idea of locking him up for close to, if not more than $20M a year is comical. That’s the sort of extension that’s fitting of a franchise player and an elite game changer—neither of which describes Ngakoue.
The notion that he’s even a top-10 pass rusher, let alone and top-10 defensive end is pretty dubious. Then you consider that the Eagles can sign a much better overall player in Jadeveon Clowney for cheaper money, and without giving up a draft pick and this answer becomes more straightforward.
Rest assured, the Eagles are not in the running for Yannick Ngakoue, and if they are, Howie Roseman is more out of touch than we thought.