Yannick Ngakoue Makes ESPN Appearance to Discuss Desire to Leave Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has been extremely vocal on social media this offseason about his desire to make an exit from Duval and play elsewhere in 2020, and on Tuesday he took his campaign to television screens.
In an appearance on ESPN's NFL Live with Adam Schefter on Tuesday, the fifth-year defensive end discussed why he wants to be traded from Jacksonville following being drafted by the team in 2016 and playing four seasons for them, along with what kind of team he wants to play for next.
On social media, Ngakoue has at times tip-toed around what went wrong between him and the Jaguars, leading many to wonder why he even wants out of Jacksonville. On his appearance on ESPN, Ngakoue made his reasoning clear, stating that the issue stems back to last offseason when the Jaguars failed to workout a long-term contract extension with him before the season began
"What happened between me and Jacksonville is very simple. The organization had an opportunity to keep me long term last offseason, things kind of broke off," Ngakoue said.
The Jaguars did engage in short-lived contract talks with Ngakoue last summer, but the Tom Coughlin-led front office didn't make any extensive overtures to make sure a deal was done. As a result, Ngakoue appears to be offended by how the talks went down, or didn't go down, last year, and that slight has carried over to his current situation.
"So, you know, everything happens for a reason and not everything lasts forever," Ngakoue said on ESPN. "Things come to an end and it's time for me to move on to the next chapter of my career. And I am forever thankful for what Jacksonville has brought to me and my family, but it is time to move on."
This isn't exactly new information, but it is at least noteworthy that Ngakoue is coming out on national television and stating why he is so adamant about leaving the Jaguars and not playing for them during the 2020 season.
Where would Ngakoue like to play? Besides the fact that it, of course, isn't up to him since the Jaguars will agree to the best offer regardless of who it is, Ngakoue did note he wants a team that is accustomed to winning. Ngakoue played for one winning team in his four seasons in Jacksonville.
"What time of team I would love to join is a team that has great culture. I really want to be a part of a team that has great culture and winning is a habit," Ngakoue said. "I don't want to be part of a team where losing is a norm or anything of that nature. I want to be part of something special."
Ngakoue noted that he believes he is a top-three defensive end in the NFL and he believes he is underrated because of the lack of a spotlight on the Jaguars, but it remains to be seen if other teams feel the same way.
This interview comes following a string of tweets by Ngakoue in recent months in which he has explained piece-by-piece his current circumstances and where he stands in regards to the organization.
Ngakoue, 25, 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.
The Jaguars placed the franchise tag tender on Ngakoue in March, but the veteran pass-rusher has yet to sign it.