The Las Vegas Raiders have agreed to terms on a deal with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue that will pay him $26 million across two years, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday night.
This will be the fourth team Ngakoue will be a part of in the past seven months. And yes, you read that right. Talk about a hectic year of 2020, right?
Now that he’s signed in Nevada for the next two years, Ngakoue should be able to provide the Raiders with a much-needed premiere pass-rushing option off the edge for the next couple of campaigns, something that they’ve lacked since they traded Khalil Mack in 2018.
The Raiders managed just 21 quarterback sacks last season, which ranked them 29th in the NFL. They also allowed opposing quarterbacks to hold the ball for 2.86 seconds per dropback on average last season, which was also 29th in the league.
Ngakoue clearly fills a need for the Raiders, but they don’t inspire a lot of confidence when they allow guys like center Rodney Hudson, who is easily a top five center in the league, to leave. The signing of a disruptive pass-rusher like Ngakoue is a step in the right direction, but the release of Hudson is a step back.
The Raiders and their +1,200 NFL odds to win their division, the AFC West, are complete and utter stay-aways unless something god-awful happens to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.
The two-year deal for Ngakoue will also reunite the defensive end with current Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who was serving as the Jaguars’ head coach when Ngakoue was going through his rookie campaign in 2016.
The 25-year-old Washington D.C. native made his first Pro Bowl for the Jaguars in 2017 when he had 12 sacks and six forced fumbles. He later became just the fourth player to record 8+ sacks in each of his first five seasons. Not to mention his 18 forced fumbles rank him second only to Mack (20) in that category since entering the league.
Ngakoue was clear that he didn’t want to continue playing for the Jags during the 2020 offseason, despite them hitting him with the franchise tag. He was eventually traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a second-round pick in late August and played great in the purple and gold, putting up five sacks, five tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles in six games.
However, a lack of foresight in Minnesota saw them give up on their season after a 1-5 start and trade the prolific pass-rusher to the Baltimore Ravens for a third-round pick in October. He never really meshed with Baltimore, managing just three sacks across 11 games with the team.
The Maryland alum has amassed 45.5 sacks and 18 forced fumbles in 77 career regular season games over his five-year career.