Months after the Jacksonville Jaguars exercised their 2020 franchise tag on Yannick Ngakoue, the young pass rusher still wants to be traded elsewhere. Having already vowed that he won't sign a long-term contract in Jacksonville, the Pro Bowler isn't necessarily a lock to suit up this season even if the Jags don't grant his request. Or at least that's according to John Oehser, senior writer for the team's official website, Jaguars.com.
Asked in a fan mailbag what makes him so sure Ngakoue will play this season, Oehser indicated the defensive end is, ultimately, likely to show up but left the door open for Ngakoue sitting out the entire year.
"I'm not particularly 'sure' that Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will play this season," he wrote. "I don't know that anyone other than Ngakoue knows what he will do -- and it's possible he's not certain yet."
The Jags "do not seem to want to trade" Ngakoue, Oehser added, echoing countless reports of Jacksonville turning down offers for the pass rusher, as well as the notion that team owner Shad Khan wants to keep Ngakoue in town. "And I don't know that that will change," Oehser said, which leaves Ngakoue with two options: "Either play for the Jaguars for around $17 million this season on essentially a one-year guaranteed contract or ... earn nothing."
"I will reiterate here that no one knows what Ngakoue will do," Oehser wrote, "but under the circumstances it seems more likely than not that Ngakoue would play and earn the $17 million rather than earn nothing. We'll see if that's what happens."
For his part, Ngakoue has been insistent about moving on, even if he hasn't given an explicit indication of his plans for signing or playing under the tag. The former second-round draft pick, who's racked up 37.5 sacks in his first four NFL seasons, feuded with co-owner Tony Khan via Twitter this offseason in addition to repeatedly demanding his departure. Before receiving the tag, Ngakoue was reportedly seeking an average annual salary of $22 million as one of this year's top free-agent pass rushers.