Raiders are logical trade partner for Yannick Ngakoue

NFL News, Oakland Raiders

Yannick Ngakoue wants to be traded away from the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Las Vegas Raiders are a logical partner.

It’s time for the Las Vegas Raiders to make their move.

Moving into a new city and stadium, the Raiders have myriad factors to consider this offseason. While general manager Mike Mayock is only concerned with acquiring talent, owner Mark Davis is thinking about billboards. Thinking about season tickets. Thinking about sizzle.

With $50 million in cap space and five top-100 draft picks — including two first-round choices — the Raiders have ample ammunition to satisfy both types of needs.

They should start by trading for Yannick Ngakoue.

Ngakoue, 24, is one of the league’s best pass-rushers. During his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, has only missed one game in four years and has 37.5 sacks. He’s also a disgruntled member of the Jaguars, about to be given the franchise tag. Las Vegas could offer the latter of its first-round picks to Jacksonville along with a third-rounder and likely snag Ngakoue while still having the 12th-overall selection.

Landing Ngakoue would be a fit on multiple fronts for Jon Gruden’s club.

For starters, he’s perfect in defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s 4-3 scheme, slotting in opposite of star edge rusher Maxx Crosby.

Speaking of Crosby, he has three years remaining on his cheap rookie deal. If the Raiders signed Ngakoue to a deal similar in term and overall value to DeMarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark (five years, $105 and $104 million respectively), the guaranteed money would largely be in the first three seasons.

Essentially, Ngakoue could either be cut or extended to lower his cap number by the time Crosby is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency.

Las Vegas desperately needs to upgrade its defense. Ngakoue keeps Crosby from consistently getting chipped and double-teamed, while providing another young star to build around. Despite being in the league four seasons already, Ngakoue is younger than some draft prospects this year.

If the Raiders are going to knock off the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs in the near future, it begins and ends with pressuring Patrick Mahomes and finding a better quarterback. Ngakoue is a massive step towards the former, while the aforementioned first-round pick could fix the latter.

With its additional cap space, Las Vegas could target linebacker help. Joe Schobert would be a quality pick-up, coming over from the Cleveland Browns in free agency. Schobert, 26, has 380 tackles and eight sacks across his past three years.

To shore up the secondary, former Chiefs corner/safety Kendall Fuller would be a fine add. Fuller is coming off his rookie deal, and provides versatility both as a corner (slot and boundary) and when rotating into a deep safety responsibility.

Still, a high-quality offseason for the Raiders begins with a blue-chip player on defense.

Prying Ngakoue out of a turbulent situation in Jacksonville would give Mayock and Gruden a prodigious talent to work with. He’d also create buzz and excitement among a fanbase looking for its first postseason victory since 2002.

Ngakoue won’t come cheap, but he’s worth the cost.

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