The long, twisting saga of Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue might finally be drawing to a close.
Jacksonville is reportedly "extremely close" to trading Ngakoue, according to The Athletic's Mike Lombardi. Lombardi also included a detail about the potential compensation:
And he followed up with one team involved in talks Jacksonville:
The Jets have been linked, on and off again, to Ngakoue all offseason. Despite their well-documented salary cap situation, the Eagles have also been linked to Ngakoue all offseason. The 25-year-old stud has repeatedly expressed his desire to leave Jacksonville.
Ngakoue racked up 37.5 sacks in his first four years in Jacksonville, and is widely viewed as one of the next great defensive ends in the entire league.
Whether because of Howie Roseman's penchant for building along the trenches, Roseman's reputation for making big-name moves, or simply because Ngakoue kept hinting at an Eagles trade on social media, the buzz was extremely loud back in March and April.
Now? Not so much.
The obvious problem is making the trade make sense, long-term. The Eagles don't want to part with an asset like a second-round pick in next year's draft if they don't know Ngakoue will be around for the long haul.
Ngakoue seems primarily interested in securing the contract he rightly deserves, with a winning team, and will likely sign on the dotted line, so his interest in Philadelphia isn't an issue. But if the Eagles aren't able to pay him because they're juggling other expensive pieces on the roster, a one-year rent-a-player for a second-round pick isn't a great use of capital.
Right now, the Eagles have a pick in each of the first three rounds in the 2021 NFL Draft, and then a pair of fifth-round picks, a sixth, and a seventh. It's not a dearth of picks, but it's also not a treasure trove, and Roseman is known for trying to pile up an excess of picks before he sends some out.
The only wrinkle in a potential Eagles move is whether Roseman looks at the 2021 NFL Draft, and the potential for no college football this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and sees a drop in perceived value. Because scouts might go a full cycle without tape on prospects, the draft process could be tough next spring. Meanwhile, Ngakoue is a proven asset. It's at least worth a thought.
In any case, it sounds like we'll have a resolution to the saga pretty soon. The result could help shape one team's defense for the next decade.