One of the players who could be traded and isn’t getting much recognition is Yannick Ngakoue. He held out before the season and still isn’t making the money he wants. He is set to become a free agent after the season, so if the Jaguars don’t want to pay him again, they should trade him before the deadline. Here are five potential landing spots for Yannick Ngakoue.
1. Oakland Raiders
Over the last two years, Jon Gruden has commented about how hard it is to find a good pass rusher in the NFL. That was after trading Khalil Mack away. The Raiders have been searching for that pass rusher, but have yet to find a great one. Ngakoue could be a good fit for the Raiders as they look to compete this year and beyond in Las Vegas.
The Raiders make sense as a trade destination for Ngakoue for a few reasons. Oakland has enough draft picks to spare and could use some to give Jacksonville. They also should have enough cap room to give Ngakoue a long term deal after the season. If the Raiders can do both of these things, they will have set themselves up well for the future.
2. New England Patriots
Michael Bennett has just been traded to the Dallas Cowboys. The defense was playing well even without playing Bennett for a lot of snaps. New England is always looking for ways to better their team, so another trade may be incoming. Because they traded away Bennett, they may want to get another pass rusher, Ngakoue could be their guy.
The Patriots are aggressive in making trades and have made several over the last few months. They no longer have a second-rounder to deal, as they used it to acquire Mohamed Sanu. New England now has this extra pick and could maybe get creative to sign Ngakoue long term after the season.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis is competing in the AFC South and may just need one little push to go all the way to win the division. They have lost Kemoko Turay for the season with an ankle injury. The Colts do have Jabaal Sheard and Justin Houston at defensive end, but could use more pass rushers if they seriously want to compete. Sheard offers the versatility to move inside as well, which opens up the defense a bit more.
This would have to be a trade within the division, but if the Jaguars don’t want to re-sign Ngakoue they should just take the best offer they get. The Colts have plenty of cap space to sign Ngakoue for the long term as well. A lot of credit has to be given to Chris Ballard and how he has built his team. Adding Ngakoue in a trade would only make his work better.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have a terrible pass defense. They should be targeting cornerbacks at the trade deadline, but if they can’t trade for one of those, maybe they can acquire a pass rusher. If they can get to the quarterback quickly, it will cover up their deficiencies at the backend of the defense. Ultimately though, the Eagles have to decide if they are all in before making a trade for Ngakoue though.
Philadelphia has 21 sacks on the season, which ranks them right in the middle of the league. Brandon Graham has four sacks, Derek Barnett has three and Josh Sweat has one. They can do a little better than that. Ngakoue only has two sacks this season, but has multiple double-digit sack seasons under his belt. The Eagles could be tempted to make a trade and figure out a long-term deal because of that fact.
5. Buffalo Bills
The Bills have some solid defensive ends in Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy. They could upgrade at the position though, as the team has just 16 sacks this season. Good playoff teams usually rank in the top half of the league in sacks, so if the Bills want to get back to the playoffs, they may need to find a deal for a pass rusher.
Ngakoue is a better pass rusher than Hughes and Murphy, which would give reason for the Bills to go after a trade. With Ngakoue on the edge to go along with Ed Oliver and Star Lotuleilei on the inside, the Bills could have a very good defensive line. Buffalo is another team that has the necessary cap space to sign Ngakoue to a long-term deal as well.