The Raiders have called the Jaguars with interest in Yannick Ngakoue, but they shouldn’t need to give up first-round picks to get him.
Yannick Ngakoue is one of the latest stars to want out of Jacksonville, and the Jaguars went ahead and franchise tagged him anyway. Multiple teams could use a pass rusher of his caliber. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the Las Vegas Raiders called the Jaguars with interest on Wednesday, but talks went nowhere.
Charlie Campbell of Walter Football first reported the details of the talks. The Raiders have two first-round picks on Thursday night, No. 12 and No.19. The Jaguars naturally want the higher of the two picks, and the Raiders were offering No. 19.
Rather than make Khalil Mack the highest-paid pass rusher in the league a couple years ago, the Raiders traded him to the Chicago Bears for a haul that included the second of their two first-round picks this year. They are in a slightly different place as a franchise now, where a case can be made to turn draft picks into shorter-term assets. But giving up premium draft capital to get Ngakoue, and then having to give him the Mack-like contract he wants, is a bad business move.
After finishing in the bottom half of the league with 32 sacks last year, the Raiders do still need to bolster their pass rush. But Maxx Crosby was a draft find in the fourth round last year, and he went on to lead the team with 10 sacks as a rookie. A similar approach could be taking to address the need for an edge rusher this year, and it should also be noted Crosby had more sacks than Ngakoue (eight) did last year.
The Jaguars have set a high asking price for Ngakoue, and someone might meet it over the coming days. But unless that price is lowered to less than a first-round pick, as Ngakoue surely continues to publicize his discontent, that someone should not be the Raiders.