The NY Jets should absolutely pull the trigger on a potential Yannick Ngakoue trade.
As reported by Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, the Jets are “deeply involved” in discussions with the Jacksonville Jaguars regarding a trade for their Pro Bowl pass-rusher.
Just an hour prior to that, Lombardi reported that the Jaguars were “extremely close” to trading Ngakoue with a “firm offer in place” for the expected price of a second-round pick.
Now it appears as though that so-called “firm offer” was from the Jets.
While the reports are unconfirmed and multiple sources have since denied the claim, general manager Joe Douglas works in mysterious ways. And while it seems to go against his team-building philosophy, the report is certainly not something that should be discarded.
Either way, the rumors left fans fantasizing about the possibility of Ngakoue in a Gregg Williams defense. Many pondered how gratifying it would be for the Jets to finally have a Pro-Bowl-caliber pass-rush presence coming off the edge.
The thought is an exciting one.
Both from an on-field and business perspective, it’s hard to argue that the Jets would be making a mistake if Lombardi’s report turns out to be true.
With that, let’s take a look at three reasons why the Jets should pull the trigger on a Yannick Ngakoue trade.
Next: 3. The price is right
3. The NY Jets should trade for Yannick Ngakoue because the price is right
Ngakoue has quickly established himself as one of the better edge rushers in the NFL since joining the league as a third-round pick back in 2016.
In each of his four seasons, Ngakoue has totaled eight or more sacks to go along with four or more forced fumbles in three of those four years.
His best season undoubtedly came in 2017 when the former Maryland star finished with 12 sacks and six forced fumbles en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance. And if raw numbers aren’t enough for you, his Pro Football Focus grade was a near-elite 81.0 that season.
Ngakoue was arguably a top-five edge rusher in 2017. And while he hasn’t reached that level again, he’s still remained a very quality pass-rusher with 17.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
So if the Jets were able to land him for a second-round pick — as the report suggests — it’s hard to say that wouldn’t be worth it.
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There is risk involved regarding Ngakoue’s contract status as an extension would need to be reached at the end of the season. On top of that, there’s a good chance that the Jets’ second-round pick falls in the top half of the round.
But the Jets have the drat capital to make it work. With two selections in both the first and third rounds, the Jets have more than enough valuable draft picks to sacrifice one for a proven commodity.
Moreover, the value of next year’s draft picks continue to drop given the uncertain status of the 2021 NFL Draft amidst the cancelation of much of the college football season.
In the words of the immortal Bob Barker (or Drew Carey for all you late adopters), the most price is most definitely right.
Next: 2. The Jets are desperate for pass-rush help
2. The NY Jets should trade for Yannick Ngakoue because of their pass-rush need
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Jets really need a pass-rusher. Like they really, really need a pass-rusher.
Since the departure of John Abraham way back in 2005, the Jets have failed to provide consistent pressure of the edge. Sure guys like Calvin Pace have made careers out of being quality starters.
But for the most part, the Jets’ edge-rush group has been a barren wasteland of draft busts, veteran castoffs, and undrafted roster-bubble guys. And that’s pretty much the state of it right now.
Jordan Jenkins is that Calvin Pace-like player, but aside from him, there’s little to get excited about. Gregg Williams is going to do his best to maximize his pass rush even without a strong edge-rush group, but there’s no telling that Ngakoue would do wonders for the defense.
This is a defense that lost its two best players in the matter of around a week — one of whom was arguably the team’s best pass-rusher last season.
Ngakoue would provide not only the star power that the Jets are now lacking on defense, but he would instantly become the team’s most accomplished and talented pass-rusher since Abraham.
Gregg Williams worked his magic last season getting the most out of a defense that didn’t have any right being top-10 — especially after all of the injuries. Now imagine him with a top-15 edge rusher in the NFL providing consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
With Ngakoue on board, there’s no reason the Jets’ defense can’t be borderline top-10 again in 2020 even with the losses of Jamal Adams and C.J. Mosley.
Next: 1. The Jets have the long-term flexibility
1. The NY Jets should trade for Yannick Ngakoue because they have the long-term flexibility
Really, the best and most reasonable explanation as to why the Jets should trade for Yannick Ngakue is simply, because they can.
The Jets have both the draft capital and long-term cap flexibility to make a deal work. So why not do just that?
Joe Douglas may have taken things slow this offseason, but he set the foundation for what has all the makings of a proper rebuild — for real this time. He’s given himself the ammunition to build through the draft while maintaining cap flexibility to jump at opportunities if they arise.
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This is one of those opportunities and Douglas might violate his own philosophy to seize it.
The Jets have very little cap space tied up past this season. The vast majority of their roster is either on expiring contracts, rookie deals, or have outs in their contract that allow the Jets to move on after this year.
Le’Veon Bell is likely a goner. The same goes for Henry Anderson. The Jets are ready to blow this thing up and rid themselves of the many loathsome contracts that Mike Maccagnan subjected the franchise to.
The only major contract they’re still committed to long-term is Mosley’s. But even so, who exactly will be needing an extension in the near future? If all goes according to plan, Sam Darnold will be looking for one.
Other than that though, there really isn’t anyone else.
The Jets have the draft capital needed to get a deal done and they have the long-term cap flexibility to sign Ngakoue long-term in the offseason.
On a roster lacking very many “good” players the Jets have a golden opportunity to acquire one.
It shouldn’t be any more complicated than that — trade for the good player.