JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Yannick Ngakoue’s holdout failed to land him a new contract.
The standout pass rusher reported to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ training camp Sunday following an 11-day absence and appears ready to play out his rookie deal.
Coach Doug Marrone said Ngakoue passed his conditioning test and would be thrown into the mix in practice. The Jaguars travel to Baltimore later Sunday for two days of joint practices with the Ravens.
“It’s great to see him,” Marrone said. “We’re happy to have him back and ready to go, so we’re excited. He’s ready to go and in great shape. We’re all together.”
Ngakoue is entering the final year of a $3.84-million contract. He’s due to make $2.025 million this fall — far less than other top playmakers at his position. He is also facing $528,650 in fines from skipping a three-day minicamp in June and nearly two weeks of camp.
Ngakoue had been seeking more than $20 million a year, but the Jaguars seemingly don’t consider him a complete or elite defensive end. Jacksonville also selected Ngakoue’s potential replacement, Josh Allen from Kentucky, with the seventh overall pick in the NFL draft and is expected to make Jalen Ramsey the league’s highest-paid cornerback next year.
Ngakoue has made it clear via social media that he’s willing to bet on himself in 2019.
According to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, Ngakoue had to report by Tuesday to accrue a fourth season and become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Had he reported after the deadline, he would have become a restricted free agent.
Being a restricted free agent would have allowed the Jaguars to match any team’s contract offer.
Instead, Ngakoue will try to prove his worth to Jacksonville or convince someone else to give him a lucrative deal in March.
“I don’t get myself involved in that stuff,” Marrone said.
The 24-year-old Ngakoue has 29½ sacks and 10 forced fumbles in three seasons. He finished with 28 tackles and 9½ sacks last year, but had no strip sacks for the first time in his NFL career.
Still, he had hoped to join a list of top-flight pass rushers who have cashed in recently.
Dallas’ Demarcus Lawrence and Kansas City’s Frank Clark signed five-year, $105 million contracts. Lawrence got $65 million guaranteed; Clark received $62.3 million guaranteed.
Trey Flowers signed a five-year, $90 million deal with Detroit that included $56 million guaranteed. And Dee Ford signed a five-year, $85 million contract with San Francisco that included $45 million guaranteed.
Ngakoue has more sacks than Lawrence (26), Ford (25) and Flowers (21) over the last three years. Clark has 32 during the same span.
Lawrence, Ford and Flowers have each missed multiple games, though.