The Baltimore Ravens made a blockbuster trade when it acquired Yannick Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings and he’s more than just a rental for the team.
Pass rush has been far from a concern for the Baltimore Ravens in 2020, but Yannick Ngakoue may be the piece that puts the unit over the top.
Yannick Ngakoue, a former Pro Bowler, was recently acquired by the Ravens from the Minnesota Vikings for a 2021 NFL Draft third-round pick and a conditional 2022 NFL Draft fifth-round pick. Ngakoue has 42.5 career sacks, including five through six games in 2020. Ngakoue is also just 25-years old and playing the best football of his career. Adding him to Baltimore’s defense makes an already good unit a great one.
There is some speculation as to what is in store for Yannick Ngakoue moving forward in Baltimore. Ngakoue is playing out the 2020 season on the franchise tag he originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars prior to being traded to Minnesota, meaning he’s an unrestricted free agent following the season. Ngakoue is a top-end pass rusher and will command some serious coin on the open market. Heck, if he keeps doing what he’s doing he’s going to outdo what the Ravens could possibly pay for him.
Here’s the thing, though: I suspect that the Baltimore Ravens are planning to keep Yannick Ngakoue in their future plans and not just for 2020.
It’s worth noting that the Ravens were trying to make a trade for Ngakoue when he was still a Jaguar, but they simply couldn’t come to terms and he was subsequently sent to the Vikings for a 2021 NFL Draft second-round and a conditional fifth-round pick. Obviously, things didn’t work out for one reason or another in Minnesota, and Baltimore came a ringing once again. This time, they closed the deal.
That kind of persistence should paint a picture as to how badly the Ravens wanted to secure Ngakoue’s services. It’s hard to blame the team, as he’s looked as good as advertised thus far. Ngakoue will be a day one starter for this defense.
A point that many, including myself, have pondered is what this means for Matt Judon moving forward. Like Ngakoue, Judon is playing the 2020 season on the franchise tag after a Pro Bowl season a year ago. Unlike Ngakoue, Judon has been severely underwhelming with just two sacks to his name thus far, both against the Washington Football team. Now that Ngakoue is in town there is hope that Judon’s production could spike, but it also could spell the end of his stint in Baltimore following 2020.
As I mentioned before, the Ravens persistence in trying to trade for Yannick Ngakoue this offseason shows that they had concerns about making their pass rush better. That was inherent when the team traded for Calais Campbell. To date, Campbell’s addition has paid off, but Judon’s return has not. There’s obviously some pressure on Judon’s shoulders now that Ngakoue is here to step up. If he doesn’t he’s as good as gone.
The most important factor here is money; something Nagkoue will want plenty of this offseason. Baltimore is projected nearly ~$40 million in cap space for 2021 per OverTheCap.com, however, giving them more than enough room to extend Ngakoue and make him a happy man. When you look at all that went into this move, I’d be betting on an extension for Ngakoue.
Take all these factors into account and it seems clear as day that the Baltimore Ravens want Yannick Ngakoue around for the foreseeable future. It’s hard not to see why and if you are thinking about getting his jersey I would tell you to confidently get his. Yannick Ngakoue will be a Baltimore Raven for a long, long time.