NFL Insider Links Eagles to Elite Jaguars Pass Rusher over Jadeveon Clowney

yannick ngakoue

Getty Jacksonville Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue.

The Yannick Ngakoue Watch resumed on Wednesday after a report declared a trade was “extremely close.”

Naturally one of the first franchises linked to the talented Jaguars pass rusher was Philadelphia who flirted with Ngakoue back in March. The Eagles appear content with their defensive end rotation after signing Vinny Curry two weeks ago. However, the opportunity to land Ngakoue — 37.5 sacks in four NFL seasons — would have to be intriguing. He’s a 25-year-old monster off the edge.

Well, there is now official evidence that the Eagles could be involved. According to The Athletic‘s Michael Lomdardi, a trade for Ngakoue may be completed in the “next two days.” He doesn’t know the final destination for the disgruntled edge rusher, but he offered that he’s a “much better option than [Jadeveon] Clowney.” First, Ngakoue needs to sign his franchise-tag tender.

“So I think all of the teams are involved,” Lombardi told SportsRadio 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi. “The problem is, Angelo, you have to take on the contract at $17.7 million. You have to clear that kind of cap room. You can’t re-do his contract because he’s a franchise player. So, it’s going to take a little bit of ingenuity. Do I think the Eagles could be involved? Yeah, I do. He’s a much, much better option than [Jadeveon] Clowney.”

No one wants to see Clowney in Philly, least of all Eagles fans after what he did to Carson Wentz. Ngakoue? That would be fun. Ngakoue has earned a career pass-rush grade of 86.5, 14th-best among edge rushers league-wide during his four-year run in Jacksonville, per Pro Football Focus. He also has the fourth-most hits on the quarterback (55) among all edge rushers over the last four seasons.

Lombardi continued his endorsement of Ngakoue to Philly by explaining how he has ties to the area and fits their defensive scheme perfectly. (Editor’s note: Maryland is not technically in the Philly area but it’s only a two-hour drive).

“He’s from Maryland,” Lombardi said. “He’s right from the area. So, obviously he wants it. He would be perfect for the scheme. He would be ideal for what they do. He plays wide-9. He can get up the field. It would give them an added strength to their team, and their strength is their defense.”

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Jaguars Edge Rusher Refusing to Play on Franchise Tag

Ngakoue has been itching for a trade out of Jacksonville since the team placed the franchise tag on him on March 13. He is due to earn $17.13 million this year, although he doesn’t plan on doing it for the Jaguars. He has repeatedly said he wishes to continue his career elsewhere.

The Eagles have consistently come up as an ideal landing spot for Ngakoue due to an aging and oft-injured defensive ends room. Fourth-year edge rusher Derek Barnett is banged up again after playing in just 20 games over the past two seasons. He might not be ready for Week 1 as he deals with a “lower-body” injury. Meanwhile, Ngakoue has been relatively quiet on social media after openly feuding with Jaguars brass and teasing trades. The damage is done there.

What would Philly have to give up to get him? The early thought was at least one first-rounder, maybe two. But that price may have dropped as things have deteriorated to the point of no return in Jacksonville. Lombardi said he has been hearing a second-round pick might get a deal done.

“I really want to be part of a team that has great culture and winning is a habit,” Ngakoue told ESPN in April. “I don’t want to be part of a team that losing is a norm or anything of that nature. I want to be part of something special. Also, I just want to go to a place where I can make a great impact on the community, and just reach out to younger people that look up to me.”

The above quote certainly sounds like the Philadelphia Eagles.

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