Ravens free agency: Yannick Ngakoue could be part of the solution
Yannick Ngakoue was a big get by the Baltimore Ravens in the middle of the 2020 season. The Ravens traded their third-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings; you’d have to think DeCosta had plans to keep him around.
Ngakoue has been a very productive pass rusher in his NFL career. Counting his production from the Vikings and the Ravens in 2020 he’s never had a season where he’s had less than eight sacks. The Ravens got three sacks out of Ngakoue in eight games.
The 2020 season was a strange one for Ngakoue. He was traded at the beginning of the year from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Vikings. He essentially played half of his season for Minnesota and half for Baltimore. A full season with the Ravens could make things go smoother for the former Pro Bowl edge rusher.
If the Ravens lose Ngakoue and Matt Judon in the same offseason, it would almost be like starting from scratch at one of the most premium positions in the game. One way or another the Ravens need to build their pass rush back up; however, losing the best pass rusher they have doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Ngakoue is 25 years-old. If he can continue to be one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, the Ravens can absolutely justify viewing him as a core player of the franchise. If the Ravens want to rebuild the pass rush they should allow Ngakoue to be the leader of that effort. Drafting a young outside linebacker to pair with Ngakoue is the best possible outcome.
If the Ravens can come up with a four to a five-year deal with Ngakoue and they use a first-round pick on a pass rusher, it sets up the future for the defense. By the time Ngakoue would be nearing the end of his deal, the drafted player could take his place as a core part of the defense.
There is already a lot of exciting youth in the Baltimore front seven. Patrick Queen, Chris Board, Malik Harrison, and Justin Madubuike will make up a big portion of the defensive success for the foreseeable future. Keeping Ngakoue would allow the Ravens to put all the pieces together this offseason. Signing Ngakoue would make team-building much easier.
Ngakoue’s best statistical season was in 2017 when he had 12 sacks and six forced fumbles. Five years into the NFL, there’s no reason to think that Ngakoue has even reached his peak. The one thing that would be hard to see is the downward trajectory of his career.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens know what they can expect from Ngakoue. The fact of the matter is that Ngakoue is always been a player that the Ravens wanted in Baltimore. He’s a player that the Ravens can get some monster seasons out of. He’s a great player to have in the locker room and he could build a great legacy with the Ravens.
In free agency, much of the conversation is about upgrading the roster. Baltimore has to consider the possibility of it being a downgrade if they lose Ngakoue, He could be part of the solution for one of the biggest offseason needs facing the team,