Defensive Player Named Top Candidate for Ravens’ Franchise Tag

Yannick Ngakoue

Getty Yannick Ngakoue walking off the field.

The Baltimore Ravens have a decision to make when it comes to using the franchise tag, and if they do decide to put it to use, who could be the best option for this?

Last offseason, the Ravens used the tag on defensive end and outside linebacker Matt Judon. This year, Judon is expected to hit free agency, but the Ravens could use the tag again on another defender that rushes the passer to guarantee some help in that department up front in 2021.

Recently, Pro Football Focus looked at what players could attract attention in terms of the tag, and Brad Spielberger picked out Yannick Ngakoue for the Ravens. Even though he admits it’s a long shot, the potential could exist for it on the market.

He wrote:

“This may not be too likely, as the reason Ngakoue even found himself in Baltimore this year was because of his refusal to play on the franchise tag in Jacksonville. That certainly could be more indicative of his feelings about the organization than the franchise tag, however.

But it’s not impossible, and a very important wrinkle here is that Ngakoue did not negotiate a no-tag provision into his revised one-year, $12 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings (who then of course traded him to the Ravens midseason). Ngakoue agreed to take a substantial pay cut just to get out of Jacksonville, dropping his $17.788 million franchise tag all the way down to $12 million.

The second franchise tag number is either the league-wide number or 120% of the player’s prior year salary — whichever is greater. Ngakoue’s teammate, edge rusher Matthew Judon, also negotiated a revised franchise tag number for 2020. The Ravens originally placed the linebacker franchise tag on him, but he argued he was a defensive end. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last.”

Ngakoue could stick around if the Ravens deem him valuable enough, and in nine games last season, he put up 3 sacks and 11 combined tackles with 2 forced fumbles. Whether he’s valuable enough to see the franchise tag remains anybody’s guess, however.

It’s a question that will be answered for sure in a few weeks time.

Yannick Ngakoue Could Be Happy With Ravens

Though Ngakoue was dealt earlier last offseason season to the Minnesota Vikings, he had long desired landing wth the Ravens, and the team wanted to try to make something work. Ngakoue is from Maryland, and the fact he lands with his home state team has to be a huge level of comfort to the player.

Indeed, after the deal was announced a few months back, Ngakoue hopped on Twitter and shared his excitement, saying he was a part of the Ravens flock while also showing off a checkered flag, signifying he had finished his journey.

Going home is a big deal for players, and Ngakoue might prefer to stay with the Ravens all things considered. Whether the Ravens want him or not is anybody’s guess, but at this point, a return could be on the table based on the fact that he wanted to come back home. The team could work something out as a result of this.

Yannick Ngakoue Stats

There is little doubt that Ngakoue can bring the heat in his career attacking the quarterback. Just 25 years old out of Maryland, Ngakoue is already one of the next best pass rushers in the league. Coming into this season, he’s put up 122 tackles and 37.5 sacks plus 2 interceptions during his time in the league. A 2017 Pro Bowl player, Ngakoue has also forced an impressive 14 fumbles in his career, showcasing his big play player abilities.

There is little doubt he can help the Ravens from a depth standpoint, even in spite of some lower stat totals this past year.

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