Raiders Free Agency: Yannick Ngakoue Immediately Upgrades D-Line

For a moment, it looked like the Las Vegas Raiders would be sitting out free agency. However, things changed throughout the first day of the legal tampering period and they zeroed in on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.

The Raiders agreed to a two-year $26 million contract with Ngakoue, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. Tom Pelissero of NFL Media later reported that the deal is fully guaranteed — $22 million fully at signing, and $4 million for injury that rolls to full in 2022.

Ngakoue spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens last season. The Raiders had trade talks about him last offseason but nothing ever materialized. The Maryland standout will end up playing in Las Vegas, it will just be one year after originally expected.

A third-round selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016, Ngakoue was traded to the Vikings last season. Over his five-year career, he has logged 49 tackles for a loss, 45.5 sacks, and 18 forced fumbles. Furthermore, he has registered ten passes defensed and two interceptions.

Related: Can We All Agree Raiders Have Failed In Free Agency Under Gruden?

Signing Yannick Ngakoue shows the Raiders are serious about fixing D-Line

The Raiders ranked near the bottom of most defensive categories in 2020. Former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther certainly deserves blame for the unit’s lack of results. Nevertheless, the fact the defensive front lacked talent also played a factor.

Ngakoue joins a defensive line that’s in dire need of playmakers. Maxx Crosby went through a sophomore slump. Injuries didn’t help, but the fact of the matter is he wasn’t as productive as he was in 2019. Moreover, Clelin Ferrell hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing and is a solid yet unspectacular defensive end.

Heading into free agency, it was worth wondering what the Raiders’ plan was. We now have an idea. Even though they made just one splash signing, it is a significant one. Signing Ngakoue sets the pace on the first day of the legal tampering period. There could be more impact signings on the way.

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*Top Photo: Terrance Williams/Associated Press

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