The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to trade Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for multiple draft picks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Specifically, Minnesota will be sending a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick to Jacksonville. That conditional pick can turn into a fourth-round selection if Ngakoue goes to the Pro Bowl and can go as high as a third-rounder if Ngakoue is a Pro Bowler and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.
This deal has been a long time coming for Ngakoue, who has been banging the drum for a trade out of Jacksonville. He was vocal about that request on social media and has been holding out of training camp to press the club to ship him out of town. Things initially fell apart between the Jags and Ngakoue when former executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin broke off contract negotiations with the defensive end's camp back in July 2019. From there, the discontent seemingly grew.
Now, Ngakoue is getting his wish, but the Jaguars are sending him away for less than they reportedly wanted to receive. ESPN reported in April that Jacksonville was seeking a first-round pick "and then some" for Ngakoue. While a second-rounder and a likely Day 3 pick is a solid return, it falls well short of that asking price.
The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on the 25-year-old Ngakoue earlier this offseason, though he has yet to sign it, which he will do in order to complete the deal. Because he did not sign the tender prior to the July 15 deadline, Ngakoue must play the 2020 season under the tag, which would pay him $17.8 million for 2020. Schefter has reported, however, that Ngakoue will restructure his one-year deal with the Vikings to create more cap space.
To the latter point, and to drive home just how toxic the relationship between Ngakoue and the Jaguars had become, the restructured deal will reportedly be in the range of just $13.5 million -- per Pro Football Talk -- which would be a loss of around $4.3 million as compared to what he would've earned to stay put in 2020. The hit gets increased when factoring in tax implications, because Ngakoue is leaving Florida, a place with no state tax, to take the $4+ million hit and suit up in Minnesota -- a place that has a state tax.
Worst-case scenario, as Ngakoue long stated, he would've been willing to sit out 2020 altogether and make nothing if the alternative was to play another snap for the Jaguars, so it's likely he doesn't view it as a financial loss, but instead a gain of roughly $13.5 million, or wherever his new salary for this coming season lands.
Ngakoue first arrived in Jacksonville when the club selected him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Maryland. From there, the 6-foot-2, 246-pounder has evolved into one of the better pass rushers the league has to offer. Even after being limited in 2019 due to a hamstring injury, Ngakoue was able to total 41 tackles last season (13 for a loss), eight sacks and four forced fumbles.
He is now paired with fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter, forming quite the pass-rushing duo in Minnesota. The Jaguars, meanwhile, now have eight picks in the first five rounds of the 2021 draft.