Jags ‘feel good with compensation’ from Vikings for Ngakoue

Published 11:12 am Monday, August 31, 2020

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars never got the first-round draft pick they wanted for pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue.

But coach Doug Marrone says the team “feels good with the compensation” they received in return for a guy with 37 1/2 sacks and 14 forced fumbles in four seasons.

Jacksonville dealt Ngakoue to Minnesota on Sunday in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2021 and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2022. The deal is expected to be formally executed with the league Monday.

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“And at the end of the day, when you’re a coach and you’re sitting there, it’s almost like you feel like you’re in the middle,” Marrone said. “You want what’s best for the player. You want what’s best for the team. In this situation — I haven’t spoken to Yann — but obviously if he’s happy, then I’m happy for him.

“The team feels good with the compensation, so I’m happy for them. And you just keep going forward.”

Ngakoue agreed to rework his 2020 salary to get out of Jacksonville, according to a person familiar with the trade. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Ngakoue still has to sign his one-year franchise tender with the Jaguars to make the deal happen. He turned down an offer that would have guaranteed him $17.8 million from Jacksonville this season. He will now make roughly $13 million in 2020, the person said.

He made it clear on several occasions this year that he no longer wanted to be in Jacksonville, even sparring with the team owner’s son on Twitter. And Ngakoue left millions on the table to make it happen.

He will give the Vikings a young, proven pass rusher opposite star Danielle Hunter, one whose work ethic and intensity have always been among the most respected in Jacksonville’s locker room. Ngakoue also should ease the loss of four-time Pro Bowler Everson Griffen, who signed a one-year deal with Dallas earlier this month.

Ifeadi Odenigbo had been in line to take over for Griffen after a breakout performance in 2019, but now he will give the Vikings rotational depth at arguably the most important defensive spot.

Ngakoue, a 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 2019 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 also 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.