The 2017 Pro Bowler has ended his 11-day holdout and rejoined his teammates in Jacksonville, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ngakoue will play out the rest of his contract and avoid being hit with the restricted free agent tag that was scheduled to take hold on Tuesday.
"I think he's ready. He's ready to go. Yan's always been in great shape, ready to go. He's an anxious guy. He doesn't like taking it that way. He wants to get in there and he's ready to go and wants to go all the way, which is just how he's mound.” -Doug Marrone on Ngakoue return— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) August 4, 2019
This is clearly a huge win for the Jaguars both on and off the field. Ngakoue is still playing on a four-year, $3.48 million deal that gives him a base salary of $2.025 million this season. Per Spotrac.com, his calculated market value is closer to $17 million per year — putting him alongside the likes of Frank Clark, Dee Ford and DeMarcus Lawrence.
Ngakoue’s numbers on the field would certainly seem to back up that notion. After setting the Jaguars’ rookie record for sacks in a season (8) in 2016, Ngakoue added 12 more to his total during a sophomore campaign where he also recorded six forced fumbles and 10 tackles for loss. Even in a disappointing 2018 for Jacksonville overall, Ngakoue continued to flourish (9.5 sacks, 28 combined tackles).
It made sense he would want a new contract just as it made sense for the Jaguars to milk all they could from his current deal.
Still just 24 years old, Ngakoue has a good-sized window open to get his deserved payday. But with this being the NFL, you can understand the sense of urgency by the Maryland product.
Ngakoue has proven himself a cornerstone piece of Jacksonville’s defense. He’ll have to stay healthy and productive a little while longer to finally be paid like one.
The Jaguars have built one of the NFL’s top defenses over the last three years. The addition of linebacker Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft this year should help keep that streak alive.
Given how fickle the top of the standings have been in the AFC South the past few years — to say nothing of the quarterbacks leading those teams — having a reliable defense can make all the difference.
With Ngakoue ending his holdout, the Jaguars have one of their most important pieces back to help them reclaim a division title.
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