Cheesesteaks, emoji’s, and “Likes” – the truth behind Yannick Ngakoue’s love of Philly and his desire to play for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Yannick Ngakoue may never play a game in his life for the Philadelphia Eagles. That doesn’t mean the super talented – and super available – edge rusher doesn’t enjoy having a little fun toying with the hearts and minds of Eagles fans everywhere.
Over the past week, the (almost) 25-year old has been posting some very cryptic messages about his potential landing spot, which has many wondering, could he be headed to Philly?
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First off, Ngakoue is a beast on the field. His relentless motor is one of the best in football and would fit beautifully in Jim Schwartz’s wide-nine attack. Having amassed 37.5 sacks in only four years in the league with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the former third-round pick out of Maryland would undoubtedly give the Eagles the most fearsome front in all of football. In the past two seasons alone he’s tallied 31 quarterback hurries, 29 quarterback knockdowns, and 78 total pressures.
But is his posturing for Philadelphia genuine or just a way to drum up buzz? The answer is…probably a little bit of both.
Ngakoue was franchise-tagged by the Jaguars before the new league year began, and he has made it clear he has no intention of signing a long-term deal with the team. He wants out. As a Washington, D.C. native, the Eagles would provide Ngakoue a legitimate shot at competing for championships while playing basically in his own backyard.
In addition to Jim Schwartz’s style, Ngakoue may also like what he sees along the line. Currently, the Eagles defensive ends consist of Brandon Graham (32), former first-round pick Derek Barnett (23), 2018 fourth-rounder Josh Sweat (23), and a handful of unknowns/unprovens. Ngakoue would immediately solidify the group, opening up the interior for the likes of Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and FA-signee Javon Hargrave. That’s a pretty impressive group.
Of course, his Tweets and Instagram posts could also mean absolutely nothing. Ngakoue is frustrated in Jacksonville and wants out. Perhaps he discovered the boisterous nature of Philly fans on social media and has been feeding off their energy for his own playful amusement. (Or maybe he just really likes two prolific pass rushers that happened to play for the Birds.)
Either way, Ngakoue wants out of Jacksonville, and the logic in the Philadelphia Eagles being interested would certainly make sense.
For the Eagles to acquire him, Jacksonville would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, which would be quite expensive – both in terms of trade compensation and financial hit. As a young player not even in the prime of his career, Ngakoue would likely cost at least the Birds’ first-round pick, if not more. (Think of the Bears–Raiders swap for Khalil Mack a few years ago.)
As coveted as first-round picks are, Ngakoue fits the mold of what Howie Roseman is seeking: an influx of young talent and a desire to build through the trenches.
Often where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That was the case with CB Darius Slay, whom the Eagles acquired via trade last week. Could this be the case with Yannick Ngakoue, as well? Or could it be that Ngakoue is just REALLY hungry for a cheesesteak?! I guess we’ll have to wait and see what interesting move Howie Roseman cooks up next!