Cardinals have rare opportunity to add top pass-rusher

Jacksonville Jaguars v Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals fans are going to want to monitor this situation closely.

Yannick Ngakoue, one of the league's top pass-rushers, is making it clear that he doesn't intend to stay in Jacksonville for long. The Jaguars, meanwhile have stated publicly they plan to use the franchise tag on him, which could hypothetically keep him in town for another year.

I saw this situation unfold when I covered the Houston Texans. They placed the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, but he had no intention of staying in Houston. He sat out training camp, and they were forced to trade him to the Seahawks, where he played under the tag. All Seattle had to give up was a third-round pick, Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo (non-starters). Houston even paid half of Clowney's contract, around $7 million.

That happened right before the 2019 season, so there's a clear, recent precedent.

Pass-rushing linebackers are a clear need for this team, and a third-round pick isn't much to give up when you consider these things:

A) Steve Keim is 1/5 hitting on third-round picks during his tenure as GM (Zach Allen, Mason Cole, who lost his starting job last year, Chad Williams who was waived, Brandon Williams a backup CB, David Johnson)

B) Ngakoue is legitimately one of the NFL's best pass-rushers, averaging 9.5 sacks per year through his first 4 seasons. He's also only missed 2 games throughout his career, making him extremely durable.

C) The Cardinals may have the cap space to sign Ngakoue to a long-term team in 2021, which would pair him with Chandler Jones through the end of Jones's contract.

Jacksonville has developed a reputation as a place players want to leave, after the NFLPA warned players against signing with the team when it was found that it had improperly required players to rehab offseason injuries at the team’s facility and fined players who didn’t. Kliff Kingsbury, meanwhile, has established a reputation as a player-friendly coach, after Larry Fitzgerald raved of his humility, and Rob Gronkowski proclaimed he'd like to play for him.

Yannick Ngakoue makes so much sense.

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