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Seven Reasons the Jets Shouldn’t Trade for Yannick Ngakoue

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

#1 He can’t be signed to a long-term extension.

The deadline has already passed to sign players who got the franchise tag to a long-term extension. This would make Ngakoue a one year rental. Some might suggest working out some sort of handshake extension that could be officially signed later.

It wouldn’t make sense. Such an agreement would be totally unenforceable if Ngakoue didn’t like his year with the Jets or saw a better opportunity on the open market and changed his mind once free agency came.

#2. The reported cost is at least a second round pick.

A second round pick is an large cost in a trade under any circumstances, but it is exorbitant for a one year rental.

#3 This would completely cut against the plan Joe Douglas has put into place.

More important than any individual move the Jets general manager makes, I want to see a coherent long-term plan for building the roster. For the first time in a long time, it seems like the Jets actually have one. When you sign a bunch of one year contracts in free agency and trade your best player for a bunch of future Draft picks, it sets you up for an evaluation season.

The Jets aren’t “tanking” in 2020. They are going to try and win games. But the main focus of the season will be evaluating the people already in place. This year is essentially set up to be an audition for players and coaches to be part of the team in the future. In an ideal world most will succeed, and the Jets will have a great season. Players with expiring contracts and coaches will be retained. The Draft picks will be used to supplement them.

If things don’t work out, however, it isn’t the end of the world. The Jets have the two essential assets for a rebuild, cap space and Draft picks. Trading for Ngakoue would cost the Jets both and put this franchise back into the weird position it saw during Mike Maccagnan’s tenure, neither owning enough talent to win now nor displaying a focus on stockpiling assets to build for the future.

#4 He would cost approximately $18 million this season

On that note, Ngakoue’s franchise tag gives him an extraordinary cap hit of around $18 million for this coming season. Teams are allowed to bank and carry over unused cap space for future seasons. The Jets would be sacrificing appreciable future resources for short term gain if they traded for Ngakoue and his 2020 cap hit.

#5 He reportedly wants more than $20 million per season on a long-term deal.

If the Jets want to avoid the unappealing situation where Ngakoue would be a one year rental, they would have to give him a huge new contract, potentially in the $20 million range annually. ESPN reported at the start of the offseason that he was seeking a deal around $22 million, and a more recent report suggests he turned down a $19 million per year offer from Jacksonville.

#6 He would have all of the leverage negotiating a new contract in the offseason.

The general idea of trading an early Draft pick for a short term rental is unappealing, and recent NFL history shows us how that impacts future contract negotiations when teams try to extend the player.

The Houston Texans traded multiple first round picks for tackle Laremy Tunsil a year ago. The Jets themselves were part of a trade with the Giants last autumn where they sent Leonard Williams across town with only half a season remaining on his contract for a third round pick.

With Tunsil about to enter the final year of his rookie deal in 2020, the Texans felt compelled to hand him a ridiculously priced extension rather than lose multiple first round picks for only two years of the tackle’s services. The Giants gave Williams a franchise tag he didn’t deserve rather than lose a third round pick for half a season of play.

Players don’t always get what they want in contract negotiations, but Ngakoue would have quite a bit of power negotiating with the Jets if they gave up an early round pick for him.

#7 He just isn’t that good.

As I have watched people talk about the possibility of the Jets trade for Yannick Ngakoue, one question has come to my mind repeatedly.

When did Yannick Ngakoue become Khalil Mack?

This isn’t to say he’s a bad player. He’s a good player. You might even say he’s very good.

He isn’t a franchise changing talent, though.

He’s averaged around 9.5 sacks per 16 games played in his career. That’s good, but it isn’t Defensive Player of the Year or All Pro territory. And on a play to play basis, PFF notes that his rate of generating pressure has fallen off appreciably since his breakout 2017 season. He’s also a poor run defender.

It’s would be one thing to sell off extra picks, pay big money, and roll the dice you could re-sign a short term rental if you were getting a truly elite player. If this was a 15 sack edge rusher who generated pressure nonstop and doubled as a shutdown run defender, this would be a different discussion.

Yannick Ngakoue is not that player. This would be a case of taking a good player and paying that exorbitant price because you wish he was a superstar.

The Jets should pass.