The Las Vegas Raiders have added some big names this offseason in Chandler Jones and Davante Adams but they also surprised many by trading Yannick Ngakoue to the Indianapolis Colts. The veteran defensive end led the team in sacks last, was a team captain and played a big role in helping the Raiders get to the playoffs. However, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham hasn’t been known to use smaller defensive ends like Ngakoue in the past so he decided to swap him for Jones.
Ngakoue was not pleased with the news as he thought he found a long-term home in Las Vegas. He was even trying to recruit players to the Raiders shortly before getting traded. When he finally had a chance to discuss the trade with Tyler Dunne, he made his frustration known and is circling the Colts’ matchup at Allegiant Stadium against the Raiders in Week 10. He said that the team will “pay” for trading him and that they’ll “see why they f****d up.”
Fellow team captain from last season Darren Waller spoke to Heavy.com about Ngakoue’s comments and doesn’t see any problem with the defensive end being upset.
“I didn’t see what he had to say but I understand those emotions,” Waller said. “That dude would be in the building before 5:00 a.m. … Him and Maxx [Crosby] kind of set the tone as far as work ethic last year. There were not many people working harder than Yannick and how much he was investing into the Raiders last year, so I understand those emotions. You give everything that you have and then all of the sudden you’re not necessarily really wanted there anymore. I completely understand the way that he feels and the emotions that he’s feeling.
“But he’s a guy I respect a lot, and I know competing against him will bring the best out of the guys on our team. But yeah, I have nothing but respect for Yannick.”
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Ngakoue Clearly Earned Respect From Teammates
Ngakoue put a big target on his back by calling out the Raiders. Fans will certainly have fun with him if the Colts lose when they come to Las Vegas next season. Regardless, it appears to be all love between Ngakoue and his former teammates. They voted him as a team captain last season for a reason.
At the end of the day, the NFL is a business but Ngakoue has had the misfortune of being on four different teams in three years despite being a consistent pass rusher. He should fit in well with the Colts as he’s reuniting with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley who coached him last season and as a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Will Raiders Live to Regret Trading Ngakoue?
Adding Jones was a move that made perfect sense for this season. He’s worked with Graham before and knows the defense. He’s also still one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. However, he’s more expensive than Ngakoue and five years older.
Ngakoue is a pass rusher the Raiders could’ve paired with Crosby for the next half-decade while Jones likely only has two or three years left of being a premier pass rusher. That said, it really just comes down to fit. Ngakoue is a much better fit in Bradley’s defense while Jones is a much better fit in Graham’s defense.