After the initial flurry of free agency, transactions are becoming a little less frequent across the NFL. The ongoing pandemic is one cause, but this slowdown is not atypical. Many teams have roles remaining on their rosters, but may choose to look toward the draft instead of free agency.
This very well may be the case for the Detroit Lions. During the beginning of the new league year, the team addressed a lot of issues, but there are still a few remaining open spots. Perhaps Detroit is looking to plug these holes in the draft, though there may be a smart way to fill one role sooner.
Jaguars edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue was recently franchise tagged, but does not appear too interested in remaining in Jacksonville. The 25-year-old made his feelings clear on Thursday on Twitter:
Who needs pass rush ?— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) April 2, 2020
Today’s Question of the Day is:
How much should the Detroit Lions trade for Yannick Ngakoue?
My answer: First, the numbers. Ngakoue has been very productive since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2016, putting up no fewer than eight sacks in any given season. To date, he has recorded 37.5 total sacks with 14 forced fumbles and five turnovers to his name. As important are his 63 games played over four seasons, highlighting his health and availability.
Accordingly, Jacksonville is asking for a hefty price. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the starting point in negotiations is apparently a first-round pick. On top of whatever draft capital Ngakoue would cost is a contract extension that must come with it. While this is not of concern to the Jaguars, it would certainly be something the Lions would have to factor in.
Detroit spent big on Trey Flowers last offseason, and while there is a lot of cap space tied up in him, there is also the argument that this investment may be wasted if not partnered with the other strong players. Ngakoue would be just that, a dynamic piece that would fit perfectly with Flowers, strengthening a front seven that has not been up to par. A first-rounder seems pretty pricey to me — even assuming a 2021 pick, as this year’s third-overall pick is surely off the table — especially given Ngakoue’s unhappiness with his current employer. If the Lions can work the cost down to a second-rounder, I think they would have to pull the trigger.