Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell reconnected with holdout defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is in the midst of switching agents.
Ngakoue, 25, is holding out and vowed not to return to the team in a contract standoff that began when Ngakoue was designated a franchise player in March. The franchise tag restricts players from leaving in free agency without granting the team refusal rights to either match any offer or accept compensation in return.
Ngakoue said he wanted to be traded, following defensive standouts Jalen Ramsey (Rams), A.J. Bouye (Broncos) and Calais Campbell (Ravens) out of Jacksonville via trade.
Thus far, the Jaguars have been hesitant to accept trade offers, reportedly asking for multiple first-round picks to part with Ngakoue.
On Tuesday, Caldwell confirmed he renewed dialog with Ngakoue.
“You’d have to talk to him. I’m very cautious of speaking for him,” Caldwell said. “He and I have been in contact the last couple days, but I think that is for him to discuss. He’s played his contract out. He has the right to do what’s best for him and his family. So, I’m going to defer any of his future questions to him, and try to keep our conversations between he and I.”
Ngakoue cannot be fined or disciplined as he has yet to sign the franchise tender for the 2020 season and is technically not under contract.
Ngakoue fired his agent and is in a five-day window during which his representation cannot be disclosed. Caldwell wouldn’t say whether the change in agents could help the Jaguars mend fences with the defensive end.
“I don’t have a feel for that one way or the other,” he said. “I think, like I said earlier … I’m going to not speak for Yan, out of respect for him. He’s earned the right; he played his contract out, he played four years. He’s earned the right to do what’s best for him and his family. Obviously, he’s a guy that we know what he brings to the table. His coaches love him. His teammates love him. We love his energy. The fan base loves him. Ideally, we would love to have him here, but I’ll let him speak on his behalf of what’s going on, and I know he’s making some calculated decisions.”
–Field Level Media