Surprisingly, the Las Vegas Raiders were able to land a top-tier pass rusher in Yannick Ngakoue without breaking the bank.
Coming off a historically bad season defensively, Las Vegas had to prioritize their putrid pass rush this offseason. Bringing in Gus Bradley to replace Paul Guenther meant that moving forward, the Raiders’ front four would need help. Signing Ngakoue instantly elevated expectations and April is barely starting. Ideally, the defensive line still needs a defensive tackle, a deficiency that could be remedied at this upcoming draft. As far as the edge, Ngakoue’s addition gives the Raiders a Pro Bowl pass rusher that could easily contribute 10-plus sacks.
Recently, Pro Football Focus highlighted Ngakoue as the biggest positive for the Silver and Black. We’re talking about a player with 53 pressures and 16 sacks to his name over the last two years, stats that are better than the Raiders as a team. While production-wise the Ngakoue signing makes sense, what about from a financial standpoint?
Did the Raiders overpay for Ngakoue?
According to PFF, it appeared many teams overpaid for pass-rushers, luckily this wasn’t the case for the Raiders. Their concern was that players were getting paid for production based on good defenses and advantageous schemes, more so than proven talent. Ngakoue has proven over the course of his career that his production remains solid in spite of the team he plays for.
“Ngakoue ranks in the 74th percentile of all pass-rushers since 2016. At his peak in 2017, he came away with an 88.2 pass-rushing grade and 70 quarterback pressures.”
Clearly, Las Vegas landed one of the better pass-rushers in the NFL and they did it without breaking the bank. Looking at the big picture, Ngakoue will make $13 million on average per year which is outside of the top 20 for his position, per PFF. In other words, it was more bang for your buck in terms of value, not to mention that his contract is only for two years, it’s not a lengthy commitment at all. When you consider how vital it will be for the Raiders to mount a pass rush without much traditional blitzing, picking up Ngakoue could go down as one of the best offseason NFL signings of 2021.
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