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March 31, 2020

NFL rumors: Yannick Ngakoue tweets his 'time is up' with Jags, continues to hint at Eagles as next team

The Eagles have made a few moves in free agency this year, with the focus being on shoring up their defense heading into a 2020 season that may or may not happen. And while their biggest need appears to be at wide receiver — they seem to be waiting for the draft to address it but there are still some options out there, especially on the trade market — the team could have one more big splash to make before all is said and done.

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who had the team's franchise tag placed on him earlier this offseason, wants out of Jacksonville yesterday. And on Monday morning, he made his intention clearly and publicly known. 

But with Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham already slated to be the team's starting defensive ends in 2020, why are we even talking about Ngakoue? Well, for a few reasons.

For starters, Ngakoue is a beast, posting 37.5 sacks in his first four NFL season. He also just turned 25 on Tuesday and is only nine months older than Barnett, who will be a free agent after next season if the team doesn't get a deal done with their former first-round pick. Meanwhile, Graham is scheduled to count for nearly $18 million against the cap in 2021. And with how the Eagles like to rotate their defensive linemen — not to mention Jim Schwartz' love of that 3-end NASCAR package he runs on third and longs — it wouldn't be a bad idea to have some extra bodies on the outside.

That being said, it would likely cost a pretty penny to acquire Ngakoue, both in terms of trade compensation and cap hit. The Jaguars likely want at least a first-round pick for Ngakoue, but the closer it gets to the season and a possible holdout, that price could drop. Last week, however, our own Jimmy Kempski wrote that he wouldn't even trade a second-round pick for the talented pass rusher if he was the Eagles and laid out the reasons why in a mailbag. 

And if this is going to be the asking price, it doesn't seem like the Eagles are going to be willing to pay it.

Beyond the cost to acquire Ngakoue, he's due $17.8 million this season and that would dry up much of the Birds' remaining camp space — although they could (and hopefully would) negotiate a long-term deal with Ngakoue after the trade that would bring down that cap hit. And there has been reported interested from the Eagles as recently as two weeks ago, so it's definitely worth examining.

Beyond whether or not the Eagles would make a move like this, or if it even makes sense for them, there's the noise coming from Ngakoue's side. In recent weeks, he's been posting not-so-cryptic tweets that he wants to come to Philadelphia, posting an Eagles emoji and photos of a number of former Philadelphia legends (including a cheesesteak), with his latest coming on Tuesday shortly after his above tweet stating his desire to get out of Jacksonville. 

It might just be a pipe dream right now, but there's reported interest on one side (the Eagles) and obvious interest on the player side. Maybe when Ngakoue blows out the candles on his birthday cake tonight, he'll wish for a trade to the Eagles. 

Stranger things have happened. 

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