Jaguars HC Doug Marrone Hopeful the Yannick Ngakoue Situation Can be Resolved
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone knows the situation between star pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue and the team isn't exactly in the best place. Still, the Jaguars' leader is hopeful that one way or another the situation can be resolved in a way that works for each side.
It isn't an easy position for Marrone to be in. He has frequently praised Ngakoue, who wants a new long-term contract but no longer wants to play in Jacksonville, for being a consummate professional, teammate, and overall person, so he clearly wants Ngakoue to be happy.
On the other hand, Ngakoue is one of the best players on Marrone's team. Him not being on the roster would be a major blow to a Jaguars' team that already needs to show massive improvements to ensure Marrone keeps his job past 2020.
In a conference call with local media Tuesday, Marrone delved into the circumstances surrounding Ngakoue and the team, and how he hopes the situation will eventually play out.
“The first thing for me, having been a player, when you’re a coach obviously you deal with players all the time. Yannick has been great," Marrone said. "He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do as a head coach and everything Todd Wash has asked him to do on the defensive coordinator. When the business starts getting involved, it’s tough.
"As a coach you always want your players to be happy. You want the best for your players. From that standpoint, I understand the challenges that are going on for Yann. When you look at our whole organization and how much we appreciate and love him, I think the organization and the rules of the league and the CBA, I think the players have rights and the teams have rights and what you do as a coach is hope all this stuff can be resolved in a positive way for everyone."
Hours before Marrone spoke to the media, Ngakoue took to social media to once again reiterate that he wants out of Jacksonville and for both sides to move on, making it clear that his desires and the desires of the team may be on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Ngakoue has been seeking a long-term contract since last summer, but talks between his camp and the Jaguars have led to no new deal up to this point, though this has obviously been compounded by Ngakoue's month-long campaign to exit Jacksonville.
The Jaguars engaged in talks with Ngakoue for a contract extension before the 2019 season began, but talks quickly fell apart and Ngakoue held out of training camp for a short period. Ngakoue then played out the final year of his rookie contract, while often leaving reminders that the Jaguars had a chance to pay him.
Earlier in March, the Jaguars placed the franchise tag designation on Ngakoue, which will pay him $17,788,000 in 2020 if he signs the tender. The Jaguars have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Ngakoue before the 2020 season, but this appears unlikely considering Ngakoue wants no part of the Jaguars' organization.
"I’m just hoping that somewhere down the line or somehow all this stuff can be resolved in a way, but again I understand both sides to it. It’s a part that I’ve always struggled with, the business end of it," Marrone said. "It’s not only with players, it happens on your staff. We’ve had assistant coaches where they’ve been offered good deals, better than the one that maybe presently they have and at the end of the day we’ve denied commission and they have to stay.
"It’s just tough, it really is, especially with a player that has done everything we’ve asked. I’m hoping that somewhere down the line we can get this situation resolved.”
Ngakoue has 37.5 sacks in his career (second-most in Jaguars' history), 42 tackles for loss, and 14 forced fumbles. Ngakoue recorded eight sacks and four forced fumbles for the Jaguars in 2019. His best season came in 2017, where he recorded a career-high 12 sacks and six forced fumbles and was named to his first Pro Bowl.