Yannick Ngakoue has agreed to a near $6 million pay cut to get out of Jacksonville, signing a one year, $12 million contract in place of his $17.788 million franchise tag to help facilitate a trade to the Vikings.
Source: The Vikings and DE Yannick Ngakoue agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal. So Ngakoue will take nearly $6 million less to play in Minnesota than he would've taken in Jacksonville.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 30, 2020
So … He really wanted out.
This is not a typical move for elite level players. Last season Jadeveon Clowney took a $1 million pay cut to move to Seattle while under tender as a franchise player and he was the first to take under the tag since Jason Pierre Paul’s injury forced him into a new contract in 2015. Given the Vikings lack of cap space and limited ways to create room this was a must to get the trade to happen now and Ngakoue into camp.
The consequences of this decision could be much more than just a $6 million pay cut. Has Ngakoue remained on his tender it would cost the Vikings $21.345 million to tag him next season. Unless they negotiated tag value protection into his contract it will now be in the ballpark of $16 million depending on the salary cap level next year. In essence that makes this an $11 million gamble that the Vikings will extend him in the offseason.
Part of the logic in agreeing to the pay cut likely lies with Ngakoue having no desire to be in Jacksonville. Each week he held out he would leave behind $1 million in salary and if never traded could have been out $8 million and still needing to play in Jacksonville. It also avoids the risk of his tag just tolling if the season was cut short before he signed it.
This would have been a much different situation for he and the Jaguars if he was willing to report and play nice for a few weeks. He would have earned his full salary and still probably wound up traded while the Jaguars would have gotten a better package.
However you can’t put a price on happiness and perhaps the financial risk is worth the chance for a fresh start with a new team.
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Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.