JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Disgruntled pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue is headed north, far away from Jacksonville.
A person familiar with the trade says the Jaguars have agreed to send Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings for a second-round draft pick in 2021 and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2022. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal has not been formally executed with the league.
The person said Ngakoue agreed to rework his 2020 salary to get out of Jacksonville. Ngakoue still has to sign his one-year franchise tender with the Jaguars to make the deal happen. He had been the league’s only franchise-tagged player unsigned, opting to turn down an offer that would have guaranteed him $17.8 million this season.
ESPN first reported the trade.
Ngakoue made it clear on several occasions this year that he no longer wanted to play in Jacksonville, even sparring with the owner’s son on Twitter.
The 24-year-old Ngakoue didn’t believe the front office showed him enough respect considering what he did since joining the organization as a third-round draft pick in 2016.
He is the second starter in the past year — arguably the team’s best two defenders — to essentially force his way out of Jacksonville. Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey seemingly faked a back injury to get traded to the Los Angeles Rams last October.
Ngakoue has 37 1/2 sacks and 14 forced fumbles in four seasons. The speedy strip-sack specialist made the Pro Bowl in 2017 and was an alternate the past two seasons. He clearly outplayed his $3.84 million rookie contract. He made $2.025 million in 2019 — far less than other top playmakers at his position.
Ngakoue insisted the day after the season ended that he’s “not going to play for pennies.” He had been seeking around $22 million a year to remain in Jacksonville, but the Jaguars never considered him a complete or elite defensive end worthy of that much annually.
Jacksonville selected Ngakoue’s replacement, Josh Allen from Kentucky, with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft and added pass-rusher K’Lavon Chaisson this year. Allen had 44 tackles, 10 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate.