The New York Jets weren’t able to make a trade for Yannick Ngakoue.
From the moment that Yannick Ngakoue began demanding a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars, one suitor always made a ton of sense: the New York Jets. Gang Green’s defense has lacked a consistent force as a pass rusher off the edge for as long as recent memory allows. Thus, landing a young player like Ngakoue — especially for the right price — was a logical direction for the Jets.
Well, a team did get Ngakoue for the right price; it just wasn’t the Jets. Instead, the Vikings traded for the pass-rusher, sending the Jaguars a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in addition to a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft.
If you’re looking at that price tag and thinking that the Jets have the draft capital to not only easily put together that same package but to perhaps better it, you’re not alone. And that’s because New York had every opportunity to make the same deal or even a richer one. They just didn’t. And now general manager Joe Douglas and his team face another season without a focal point edge rusher.
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Yes, because Ngakoue had the franchise tag placed on him, any team trading for him would either have to rent him for one season or sign him to a long-term contract. But for a player with his sack production in his mid-20s, that still seems like a price the Jets should’ve been willing to pay. So the simple question is this: Why didn’t they?
Yannick Ngakoue would’ve been a perfect investment for the New York Jets.
Before everyone starts getting out their pitchforks and coming for Joe Douglas, it’s another member of the New York Jets front office that the ire should be directed towards: the ownership group. As noted by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, ownership has put a restriction on Douglas’ spending this offseason and that included not wanting to pay Ngakoue:
The Jets have the draft capital to make the trade that the Vikings did with Jacksonville and perhaps an even better deal. And with their need at edge rusher, it truly does stand to reason that the deal didn’t get done because of the large-money deal that Ngakoue would have to be signed to.
At the same time, the phrase “you have to spend money to make money” comes to mind. Yes, especially in this offseason with revenue being affected by the effects of COVID-19 on the season, some teams are being more financially responsible than others. Having said that, if you’re the Jets, that should make this an even better market to get an asset that can help the franchise for the long haul.
Instead, that asset is now in Minnesota while the Jets are left with a platter of mediocre pass-rushers, a la the status quo for the past few years now. They could’ve had Ngakoue and, an edict from ownership or not, the fact that they didn’t pull off an easily attainable trade is yet another instance of this franchise dropping the ball.