We’re Getting Closer to Finding Out if DE Yannick Ngakoue Will Join Raiders

Prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders balked at the prospect of trading a first-round pick for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, but with less than four weeks before the season opener, the Jacksonville Jaguars have rekindled talks, and the team is closer to dealing Ngakoue today according to Michael Lombardi.

**Update: Jaguars general manager David Caldwell denied the report earlier today, and called it “erroneous.” Also, he mentioned that nothing is imminent.

The Current State of Affairs

The AFC West is highly competitive, but one way to close that gap is with a stellar pass rush. After ranking 25th in 2019 with 32 sacks, the Raiders have a promising young group of defensive ends to head into the 2020 season.
Maxx Crosby is looking to build off his 10-sack rookie season, Clelin Ferrell spent the offseason getting stronger and is up to 275 lbs, Carl Nassib was added through free agency to supply a pass rush on third down, and Arden Key has impressed in training camp.

Many pundits don’t expect much from the Raiders defensive line, but the organization and players think otherwise. Key went as far in saying the Raiders don’t need any help on the defensive line.

“We got everything we need in that D-line room,” Key said to Tashan Reed of The Athletic. “We don’t need nobody else, we don’t need no Clay Matthews. we don’t need no Jadeveon Clowney, we don’t need none of that s*** We got a lot of guys on (the defensive line) that can pass rush they a** off.”

Related: 2020 Raiders 53-Man Projection: Defense

The Potential Cost

I can’t imagine what the Jaguars asking price is for Ngakoue, but I’d have to guess it’s less than what they were asking for during the draft if the Raiders have returned as possible trade candidates.
One would have to assume that Raiders would have to part with one of their young defensive ends and a draft pick to satisfy the Jaguars needs and have enough playing time for all the defensive ends.
Signing Ngakoue to a lucrative deal in 2020 doesn’t appear to be in the Raiders’ cards. According to Over The Cap, the Raiders possess a little over $4 million in cap space. However, a future long-term deal doesn’t seem out of the picture.

What can Ngakoue bring to the Raiders?

In four seasons with the Jaguars, Ngakoue has produced 37.5 sacks and is regarded as a top-tier defensive end. Still, a shaky relationship with the Jaguars organization has pushed him to seek a trade since the offseason.
According to Adam Caplan, The Raiders aren’t the only team inquiring about Ngakoue. The New York Jets are also interested in the young defensive end.

Ngakoue is only 25 years old and has contributed over 700 snaps in each of his four seasons. Despite the fact that the Raiders are high on their young defensive line, adding Ngakoue can provide much-needed versatility they haven’t had in years.

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