Jaguars are having an about face with Yannick Ngakoue

Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL Draft

No, the Jacksonville Jaguars were unable to trade defensive end Yannick Ngakoue for a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. This is getting so awkward.

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue remains a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

This shouldn’t be the case, but here we are. Ngakoue’s disdain for the Jaguars organization has been well-documented since the end of last season. The Pro Bowl pass rusher is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in all of football. Even though the Jaguars slapped him with the franchise tag back in March, Ngakoue is certain he’s played his last down in North Florida.

The idea was the Jaguars would trade him for a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Though they were tying to deal him to the Las Vegas Raiders, nothing manifested. Jacksonville enters day two of the draft with a disgruntled defensive end who has already ripped the co-owner of the team Tony Khan to shreds. It puts general manager Dave Caldwell in an incredibly awkward spot.

“I think his options are very limited at this point in time,” Caldwell said. “We’ll welcome him back with open arms when he’s ready to come back, and we look forward to it.”

To say Ngakoue’s “options are very limited” would be a gross understatement. Unless the Jaguars want a 2021 pick for the guy, they’re not going to command a first-rounder. Ngakoue has burned seemingly every bridge spanning the St. Johns Rivers over the last few months. For as awkward as it will be, Ngakoue’s reluctant return to Jacksonville is more likely after Thursday night’s selections.

“He is a tremendous player, tremendous person,” Caldwell said. “He’s always been first class in everything he’s done here, in the locker room and through his time here, the first four years of his contract. Obviously he feels like things have not gone the way he wanted.”

While Ngakoue may have been first-class during his first four years in Duval, it’s been anything but that for the last few months. It’s gone from a seemingly happy football marriage to a trailer park yelling match in the blink of an eye. Ngakoue may still be bitter with the Jaguars, but at least Caldwell is trying to mend things here to put an end to cringe-worthy shameful embarrassment.

“In some aspects he may have a point, but we put our best foot forward not once but twice, and I hope he sees the light that Jacksonville is a good spot and it could at the end of the day be his only option.”

Ngakoue will make more in 2020 than he has at any point of his life. Playing on the franchise tag stinks, but he’ll get a huge bump in pay and could enter unrestricted free agency next spring. As long as the Jaguars don’t tag him again, which would be so incredibly sloppy of them, Ngakoue stands the chance to be the No. 1 pass rusher hitting the open market in 2021 NFL free agency.

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