Yannick Ngakoue is by far the , and now he wants to be paid accordingly. According to ESPN's Mike DiRocco, the Jacksonville Jaguars veteran is seeking about $22 million per season on a long-term contract. The Jags, who are strapped for cash entering the offseason, may ultimately use their franchise tag on Ngakoue, which would pay the defensive end an estimated $19.3 million in 2020, in an effort to "buy more time to soothe hard feelings from last year's contentious negotiations," per DiRocco. But it's clear Ngakoue's No. 1 priority is landing a long-term deal, with the veteran previously telling reporters he'd likely sit out until August if he were forced to play under the tag in 2020.
Ngakoue isn't necessarily the most prolific run defender of the pass rushers headlining free agency, but at 24, with a Pro Bowl resume and four straight seasons of at least eight sacks, he's exactly the type of player to elicit lucrative money on the open market. A $22 million annual salary would make him the NFL's third-highest-paid defensive player, behind only Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack ($23.5 million) and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($22.5 million).
It's not impossible Ngakoue could still end up with a long-term deal in Jacksonville. While the Jaguars are among the Marcell Dareus, to free up money in 2020. , they could also be active in the trade market in an attempt to clear big cap hits of vets like Andrew Norwell and Calais Campbell.entering March, they're with a handful of big-name veterans, including A.J. Bouye and