Should the Eagles take a shot on Yannick Ngakoue?

Yannick ngakoue
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – NOVEMBER 28: Indianapolis Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) celebrates his sack during an NFL game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts on November 28, 2022 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire)

Yannick Ngakoue’s name is always one that carries intrigue and it’s not the first time that he’s been available when the Eagles could benefit from his presence. But is now the time to pull the trigger on the 28-year-old?

The calm before the storm is here. OTA’s are in the rearview mirror and Training Camp is now on the horizon. As Eagles fans hold their collective breath in anticipation for the Summer ahead, the rumor mill is slowly beginning to spin as the remaining free agents begin looking for a new home before the regular season.

Yannick Ngakoue is no exception. The 28-year-old free agent is looking for a new team once again – his sixth since leaving the Jags. Best known for his role in the ‘Sacksonville’ Defense a few years ago, Ngakoue’s career has taken some unexpected twists and turns. He spent 2022 in Indianapolis on the back of a bounceback year with the Raiders in 2021. With 19.5 sacks over his last two years, it’s clear he still has some gas in the tank, but are the Eagles a suitor?

Prove-it deal no longer an option for Yannick Ngakoue?

Before we get to anything else, we need to talk financials. The Philadelphia Eagles have around $12M in cap space (per spotrac) and could definitely afford Ngakoue if Roseman saw fit. But we all know that as much as he loves veteran free-agents, he also loves a bargain.

It’s become very rare for the Eagles to give a multi-year deal to a free agent. Instead, we see Philadelphia often work out those low-risk, high-reward contracts for players who want to contribute to a contending team. From Yannick Ngakoue’s perspective, the Eagles at least tick one box.

I’m ready to have a stable home and just to be able to be on a multi-year deal, I can be able to ground myself and start on things, really focusing on my family and trying to start a family, things like that.

At this stage in my career, being in my later 20s, I definitely want to play for a contender, play for a team and organization that wants to win a Super Bowl..

… Hopefully, I can gain some great interest from a contender.”


It is worth noting that former Chiefs DE, Frank Clark, just signed a contract worth around $7.5M, and Leonard Floyd’s Buffalo deal is of a similar value. That would make Ngakoue the 6th/7th highest-paid player on the Eagles, earning around $1M more than Josh Sweat.

If long-term stability is important to Yannick Ngakoue, the Eagles might not be the team for him. However, if he’d be willing to take less money to attain that, then I’m sure Howie Roseman would be interested in having a discussion.

Does Yannick Ngakoue fit the Eagles?

Do the Eagles need an EDGE rusher? Not desperately. Their dominant 70-sack season last year should indicate that they’re able to get plenty of juice from their defensive line, and the interior has only been further beefed up.

Yannick ngakoue
JACKSONVILLE, FL – DECEMBER 29: Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive End Yannick Ngakoue (91) during the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 29, 2019 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

On the outside, we’re likely to see a mix of Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat while Haason Reddick and Nolan Smith take on the hybrid linebacker role that can see both players drop into coverage as well as putting a hand in the dirt and rushing the passer.

With a predominantly 3-4 base scheme, it’s not like the Eagles need to find a starting EDGE rusher. Brandon Graham’s stunning 11-sack season showed the world that he still has another chapter in his novel and Josh Sweat has continued to develop with each season he plays in midnight green.


The other thing to bear in mind is that Yannick Ngakoue is chasing his sixth team since being drafted by the Jaguars. He’s had a new team every year since the Jags decided to part ways with him and that has to stand for something. Whether he’s asking for too much or delivering too little, there’s a reason why he’s become a journeyman despite his exceptional talent.

One could argue that Ngakoue’s value is based purely on his sack number. He has surpassed the 8-sack mark in 6 of his 8 NFL seasons, but his pressure and win rates are much lower than what the Eagles are currently sending out onto the field.

Let’s take Haason Reddick, for example. The dominant pass-rusher had 12 pressures last year and won 34% of his pass-rush attempts. Ngakoue won a measly 7% of his pressures that same season. Reddick also had 6.5 more sacks than Yannick Ngakoue.

Sure, adding some depth in behind those guys would be optimal, but with both Reddick and Nolan Smith adding some real explosiveness off the edge, there are certainly more efficient ways to spend $7m.

Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire