What Kind of Contract Figures Could the Jaguars Observe From Recent Pass-Rusher Deals?

John Shipley

One of the most pressing free agency questions the Jacksonville Jaguars have faced in recent years is the situation surrounding defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Allen Robinson was a similarly intriguing free agent in 2018, but not to the level of Ngakoue.

Jacksonville has been very active in the past in terms of signing other teams players to big-money deals in free agency, such as Calais Campbell, Nick Foles, Malik Jackson, A.J. Bouye, Julius Thomas, Andrew Norwell, and others. When it comes to their own players, the Jaguars haven't exactly been too afraid in paying recent draft picks either. 

The largest recent contracts the Jaguars have given to players already on the roster have been paydays for Blake Bortles (three-year, $54 million), Marqise Lee (four-year, $34 million), Myles Jack (four-year, $57 million), Telvin Smith (four-year, $44 million), and Brandon Linder (five-year, $51 million).

If the Jaguars were to reach an agreement with Ngakoue, it is fair to wonder if it would look similar to any of those deals or instead surpass them. Ngakoue, who is free to sign with any team beginning on Mar. 18, could look to other recent pass-rusher deals when it comes to his own financial requests for his new deal, regardless of if it is with Jacksonville. 

Ngakoue, who will be 25 on Mar. 31, has recorded 37.5 sacks in four seasons (9.375 sacks per year), has reached one Pro Bowl in his career and has one season with double-digit sacks, though he has never recorded less than eight sacks in any season. He has also recorded 14 forced fumbles and 42 tackles for loss. 

How does Ngakoue's production compare to other pass-rushers who have signed lucrative deals in the last two seasons, and what could it mean for the Jaguars? We examined, comparing Ngakoue's situation to a few of the other high-profile free agent pass-rushers in recent years.

Chicago Bears OLB Khalil Mack 

Contract: Six-year, $141 million, with $90 million in total guarantees. $23.5 million average per year. 

When he signed: Sept. 1, 2018

Age when signed: 27.

Production when he signed: 40.5 sacks, 68 tackles for loss, nine forced fumbles in four seasons.

Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence

Contract: Five-year, $105 million, with $65 million in guarantees. $21 million average per year. 

When he signed: Apr. 6, 2019.

Age when signed: 26.

Production when he signed: 34 sacks, 48 tackles for loss, nine forced fumbles in five seasons.

Kansas City Chiefs DE Frank Clark

Contract: Five-year, $104 million, with $62.3 million in guarantees. $20.8 million average per year. 

When he signed: Apr. 23, 2019.

Age when signed: 25.

Production when he signed: 35 sacks, 35 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles in four seasons. 

San Francisco 49ers DE Dee Ford

Contract: Five-year, $85 million, with $20.5 million in guarantees. $17 million average per year. 

When he signed: Mar. 14, 2019.

Age when signed: 27.

Production when he signed: 30.5 sacks, 36 tackles for loss, and nine forced fumbles in five seasons. 

Detroit Lions DE Trey Flowers

Contract: Five-year, $90 million, with $56 million in guarantees. $18 million average per year.

When he signed: Mar. 11, 2019.

Age when signed: 25.

Production when he signed: 21 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles in four seasons. 

Green Bay Packers OLB Za'Darius Smith

Contract: Four-year, $66 million, with $20 million in guarantees. $16.5 million average per year. 

When he signed: Mar. 12, 2019. 

Age when signed: 26.

Production when he signed: 18.5 sacks, 24 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles.

Green Bay Packers OLB Preston Smith

Contract: Four-year, $52 million, with $16 million in guarantees. $13 million average per year.

When he signed: Mar. 12, 2019.

Age when signed: 26.

Production when he signed: 24.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles in four seasons.

Minnesota Vikings DE Danielle Hunter

Contract: Five-year, $72 million, with $40 million in guarantees. $14.4 million average per year. 

When he signed: Jun. 28, 2018.

Age when signed: 23.

Production when he signed: 25.5 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles in three seasons. 

Final takeaways

Overall, Ngakoue's age and production indicate he deserves a deal similar to that of Clark and Lawrence. He has better production in the same span of years, and in some cases in ever fewer years, than many recent pass-rushers who have been paid. 

Of course, some of these players got paid what they did because they are also dominant vs. the run, such as Clark, Lawrence, Mack, and Flowers. Ngakoue has the tackles for loss numbers to suggest he is a solid player vs. the run, but the question is if teams would hold him in the same regard as a run defender.

Ngakoue's production doesn't indicate he deserves the deal Mack got, but Mack is arguably one of the two to three best defenders in the entire NFL. But the context of where Ngakoue is at in this stage of his career, as well as what he has done as a pass-rusher since being drafted, suggests whoever signs him will be signing him to one of the largest contracts among pass-rushers. 

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