Yannick Ngakoue has spoken out for the first time since it was announced that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be trading the fifth-year defensive end to the Minnesota Vikings.
Following a rocky last 12 months with the Jaguars, Jacksonville traded Ngakoue to one of the NFC's top teams in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick. And in his exit, Ngakoue opted to thank the franchise that drafted him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
"It’s evident that my time in Jacksonville is up. But I want to say thank you to the organization for making it a home for myself for 4 years, and that I’ll never forget," Ngakoue tweeted on Sunday evening.
"That chapter is over with now. Nothing lasts forever. But I’m truly excited to start this new chapter! SKOL! "
Ngakoue was in a back-and-forth dispute with the Jaguars all offseason, but his issues originated even before that. Ngakoue was seeking a new deal in the 2019 offseason but the Jaguars and Ngakoue's camp failed to find much middle ground, leading to a short training camp holdout for Ngakoue. Various reports since have stated the negotiations fell apart because former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin declined to offer Ngakoue more than once.
Ngakoue requested a trade publicly multiple times this offseason, but the Jaguars refused to facilitate a deal for the former Pro Bowler up until 14 days before Week 1.
In four seasons, Ngakoue has recorded 37.5 sacks (second-most in franchise history), 14 forced fumbles and 42 tackles for loss. Ngakoue recorded eight sacks, four forced fumbles and tied a career-high in tackles for loss with 13 last season.
With Ngakoue taking the high road on his way out of Jacksonville, the responses from current and former teammates have remained just as positive.
"No need for that. Yann has done a lot for this franchise and has been a tremendous idol to follow," rookie defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson replied to a fan on social media. "Wishing the best for him and his future is something we all should do."
The Jaguars now hold 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, including four in the first two rounds and eight in the first five rounds. Also, only two players remain on the roster who started on the 2017 defense: Myles Jack and Abry Jones.