After months and months of rumors, the Yannick Ngakoue saga continues in Jacksonville. The Pro Bowl defensive end has been very clear about not wanting to play for the team anymore but the Jaguars don’t want to give up one of their best players for cheap. Rumors started to circulate recently that a trade was close to happening and the Las Vegas Raiders were involved but Jaguars general manager David Caldwell came out and refuted them.
While it’s hard to know exactly who is to be believed, former NFL executive Michael Lombardi doubled down on his claim that a trade is coming:
On Wednesday, I got a tip from a general manager not involved in the Ngakoue talks, indicating that the Jags were close to shipping Ngakoue out of town, destination unknown. He thought it might be the Jets (they have denied involvement for whatever that means), or the Raiders, or any of the other teams that need an excellent pass rusher. The one thing my source knew for sure was that Ngakoue was on the move, and it would happen soon.
This is more of the same as what we have been hearing but it is notable that the Raiders are still involved. The team has signed a couple of defensive ends recently but it sounds like those guys are training camp bodies.
Lombardi Addresses Caldwell’s Comments
Out of the NFL insiders, Lombardi does have a spotty track record. He was one of the biggest voices suggesting the Raiders were moving on from quarterback Derek Carr. That said, he’s not always wrong and it’s no secret that the Jaguars need to trade Ngakoue. Lombardi addressed Caldwell suggesting that his report was faulty:
Naturally, I tweeted out the information, which caused some problems down in Jacksonville. GM David Caldwell started to accuse other teams of leaking information to me. He was apparently not happy about my tweet and has since told SiriusXM radio that nothing involving Ngakoue was imminent — which is simply not true. Why would Caldwell get mad about a tweet? The whole NFL knows he is in the process of moving his best player. It’s not a state secret. Why would Caldwell care about anything other than getting the best deal possible? We all know something must happen soon with Ngakoue — time is of the essence. Ngakoue is not playing unless he gets traded and knows whatever money he might lose missing a game check will be returned to him once he signs his new deal.
Here is the reality: A trade will happen, maybe not today, but it will happen soon.
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Will Raiders Make the Trade?
There have been a number of teams involved in the Ngakoue sweepstakes but the Raiders have been the most consistently involved. They’ve been interested since back during the draft and the reports are that they are still poking around. Las Vegas has added a lot of talent on the defensive line over the last couple of years so they probably aren’t desperate.
Ngakoue is really good but considering his contract situation, there’s no reason they should give up anything more than a second-round pick. It’s going to get to the point where the Jaguars will just have to take what they can get and the Raiders could be the beneficiaries of their desperation.
Follow Austin Boyd on Twitter: @austincjboyd