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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Ngakoue rejoins Jaguars, vows to play even without new deal

Tue May 21 3:57pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, left, and defensive end Lerentee McCray (55) perform a drill during the an NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Yannick Ngakoue grew tired of watching from the sideline as teammates participated in 11-on-11 drills. So he took a different approach to stand out Tuesday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end ran onto the field during a special teams play, scooped up a punt and started juking would-be tacklers.

''Just trying to show my athleticism a little bit,'' Ngakoue joked after the team's first organized team activity.

Ngakoue is willing to do just about anything to bolster contract negotiations.

The former Maryland standout, a third-round draft pick in 2016, is entering the fourth and final year of a $3.84 million rookie deal. He's due to make $2.025 million this fall - far less than other top playmakers at his position.

He showed up for the first two days of the team's voluntary, offseason conditioning program in April before leaving and spending the past month working out in Miami. Ngakoue rejoined teammates Tuesday and emphatically said he plans to play this season even if he doesn't get a long-term contract.

''Of course, I'm going to play,'' he said. ''I love the game. I'm in God's hands at the end of the day. I've been playing this game my whole life and that's what I'm here to do.''

Ngakoue has 29 + sacks and 10 forced fumbles in three NFL seasons, developing into a key piece of one of the league's top defenses.

''It's self-explanatory what I've done in three years, what I've amassed in three years,'' he said.

The Jaguars hope to re-sign the 24-year-old Ngakoue, but getting it done might take patience. The team has roughly $13 million in salary cap space for 2019 and could get nearly $10 million more in additional room if linebacker Telvin Smith, who intends to sit out this season , fails to show up for training camp.

They also could rework a high-end contract or two to free up extra cap space.

Although Ngakoue brushed aside several questions about a potentially huge payday, he acknowledged how pass rushers have cashed in this offseason.

Dallas' Demarcus Lawrence and Kansas City's Frank Clark signed five-year, $105 million contracts. Lawrence got $65 million guaranteed, and Clark received $62.3 million guaranteed.

Trey Flowers signed a five-year year, $90 million deal with Detroit that included $56 million guaranteed. And Dee Ford signed a five-year, $85 million contract with San Francisco that included $45 million guaranteed.

''That's not a secret,'' Ngakoue said. ''We all can go on the computer; we see what they're getting. At the end of the day, it's a blessing to be in that position and I'm thankful. If it comes, it comes.''

Until then, Ngakoue plans to continue practicing with his team. He said he will be in attendance for the remaining 12 OTAs, wants to be voted a captain this season and hopes to be a mentor to fellow defensive end Josh Allen, the seventh overall pick in the NFL draft who could end up splitting snaps with Ngakoue.

''Just trying to build some team camaraderie, being a leader, trying to be different,'' Ngakoue said. ''That's the main reason why I came back. I don't have to be here, but I chose to be here. Just shows you how much I love the game. That's why I want to be here, to help some guys out.'

Coach Doug Marrone applauded the effort.

''It's always good when you're around your teammates,'' he said. ''Consistency and being around, I think that's part of the chemistry and all the other stuff, so yeah, I'm appreciative of all the players that are here during this voluntary period.''

Player Notes
Malcolm Jenkins May 21 9:43am ET

Philadelphia Eagles FS Malcolm Jenkins is absent from organized team activities. Jenkins was also absent for offseason workouts.

Josh Jones May 21 8:23am ET

Green Bay Packers SS Josh Jones is away from voluntary organized team activities and working out in Florida because he's hoping to be traded, according to a source.

Reuben Foster May 21 12:13am ET

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins LB Reuben Foster (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but there are also some worries about possible artery damage in his leg, according to a source.

Cooper Kupp May 20 10:53pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) said he is happy with the progress he is making in his rehab but does not want to put a timetable on his return. Head coach Sean McVay said the goal is for Kupp to be ready for Week 1.

Fantasy Spin: Kupp probably will not be on a practice field until training camp, so fantasy players should monitor his situation over the next few months. He is one of the better receivers in the NFL when he is healthy and can be a No. 2 fantasy receiver in 2019.

Larry Fitzgerald May 20 10:13pm ET

Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson and WR Larry Fitzgerald were not present during practice Monday, May 20.

Fantasy Spin: Both Johnson and Fitzgerald could participate in practice later this offseason and should be on the field for mandatory minicamp. Johnson will be a No. 1 running back in fantasy leagues this upcoming season, while Fitzgerald could be a No. 3 receiver.

Ndamukong Suh May 20 9:53pm ET

Free-agent DT Ndamukong Suh (Rams) could be an option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team released DT Gerald McCoy, in the opinion of The Athletic's Greg Auman.

Julio Jones May 20 9:43pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones was not present for the start of organized team activities Monday, May 20.

Fantasy Spin: Jones is talking with the team about a contract extension and may not participate until the mandatory minicamp. Jones continues to be one of the top receivers in the NFL and should be a No. 1 receiver in all fantasy leagues.

Case Keenum May 20 8:43pm ET

Washington Redskins QB Case Keenum received the first snap during team drills Monday, May 20.

Fantasy Spin: Keenum will compete with Dwayne Haskins and Colt McCoy for the starting quarterback job during training camp. Fantasy players probably should avoid the Redskins quarterback situation in drafts, but Haskins likely will have some value in keeper leagues.

Reuben Foster May 20 8:23pm ET

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins LB Reuben Foster (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Monday, May 20, according to a source.

Gerald McCoy May 20 8:13pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy was released Monday, May 20.

Amari Cooper May 20 7:43pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper is at a stalemate in contract extension talks with the Cowboys, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Cooper is entering the final year of his contract, so the team is looking to sign him to a long-term extension this offseason. He played well after joining the Cowboys and should receive plenty of targets this upcoming season. He can be a No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.

De'Vante Bausby May 20 7:03pm ET

Denver Broncos CB De'Vante Bausby worked with the first-team defense during practice Monday, May 20, because CBs Chris Harris Jr. and Isaac Yiadom (shoulder) did not participate.

Shamarko Thomas May 20 7:03pm ET

Denver Broncos SS Shamarko Thomas (undisclosed) did not participate in practice Monday, May 20.

Kyle Rudolph May 20 6:13pm ET

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph said he plans to participate in practice Tuesday, May 21, even though his future with the team is uncertain.

Fantasy Spin: Rudolph has been part of trade rumors this offseason, so it is not known which team he will play for in 2019. He can be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end no matter where he plays.

Reuben Foster May 20 6:03pm ET

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins LB Reuben Foster (knee) is believed to have suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament during the team's first organized team activity Monday, May 20.

Martrell Spaight May 20 5:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs LB Martrell Spaight was placed on the Reserve/Retired list Monday, May 20.

John Phillips May 20 4:53pm ET

Free-agent TE John Phillips (Cardinals) signed an undisclosed contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, May 20, according to a source. DB Dontae Johnson was released to make room for him on the roster.

Jordan Leggett May 20 4:43pm ET

New York Jets TE Jordan Leggett was waived Monday, May 20.

Danny Shelton May 20 4:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Danny Shelton (Patriots) agreed to terms on an undisclosed contract to re-sign with the New England Patriots on Monday, May 20.

Carson Wentz May 20 4:33pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (back) is reportedly progressing well from his back injury and will not be limited for on-field drills during organized team activities beginning Tuesday, May 21. While the team will be cautious with him, he is expected to be involved in the majority of all work, according to sources.