Top Free Agent Landing Spots For DE Yannick Ngakoue

A former star of the Jacksonville Jaguars, veteran DE Yannick Ngakoue has been around the block in recent years. Since 2020, Ngakoue has suited up for the Vikings, Ravens, Raiders, Colts and Bears.

Yannick Ngakoue

Despite this, he’s been remarkably consistent in his production, totaling at least eight sacks in seven of his first eight seasons in the league. Ngakoue is known as a pass-rushing specialist. He is a relentless edge rusher, with an advanced set of moves to his name. His 69 career sacks rank 17th among all active players, and the only player ahead of Ngakoue who’s younger is Browns DE Myles Garrett

However, Ngakoue is often criticized for being weak in run defense, as he typically sells out to get after the quarterback, usually resulting in more opportunities for the offense on run plays. This is probably why he hasn’t been able to find a consistent long-term home to this point. 

Still, productive pass rushers find jobs. While Ngakoue had just four sacks last year, his career production remains notable. Ngakoue will find a landing spot, it’s just a matter of which team will be most drawn to his specific profile.

Ngakoue, 29, is a former third-round pick of the Jaguars back in 2016 out of Maryland. He played out the final year of his four-year, $3.48 million contract before the Jaguars used the franchise tag on him.

However, Ngakoue refused to play for the Jaguars in a contract dispute and they later traded him to the Vikings. He lasted just a few months in Minnesota before he was traded to the Ravens that same season. 

As an unrestricted free agent in 2021, Ngakoue signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Raiders. He was traded to the Colts after one year in exchange for CB Rock Ya-Sin.

Ngakoue signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal with Chicago last August.  

In 2023, Ngakoue appeared in 13 games and recorded 22 tackles, four sacks and six tackles for loss. 

We have him included in our Top 100 Available Free Agents list. 


The Falcons have spent years building a solid roster but lacked a good quarterback to bring it all together — and now they’ve got their guy in Kirk Cousins. In a weak NFC South, the Falcons feel they are primed for a run at the division and a chance to make some noise in the playoffs.

To get there, however, they’ll need to improve their defense. The Falcons have given that side of the ball a lot of attention in recent years but still lack major contributors at edge rusher. Arnold Ebiketie, Zach Harrison and Bralen Trice — all Day 2 picks in the last two drafts — figure to get the first crack at the edge rusher rotation. Atlanta also has veterans Lorenzo Carter and James Smith-Williams to provide some steadiness and experience to the group. Second-round DT Ruke Orhorhoro and fourth-round DL Brandon Dorlus can play as big ends on early downs but both were drafted to play primarily on the interior. 

There’s not a single player in this group you would confidently bet on to record double-digit sacks in 2024. 

New HC Raheem Morris brings his 3-4 “odd front” defense over from the Rams, a defense that plays a five-man front and relies on outside linebackers who can rush the passer and drop into coverage. Ngakoue is one of the only remaining available free agents who fits this description, and he’s by far the best of them.

Ngakoue would bring desperately needed juice off the edge for the Falcons.Atlanta’s goals this season are too lofty to risk the entire edge defender rotation on unproven first- and second-year players. They need to sign a veteran, and Ngakoue is the best fit available.


Washington’s roster is in a unique position. Having just drafted Jayden Daniels at No. 2 to be the quarterback of the future and with a new ownership group and coaching staff, Washington is beginning a long-term rebuild. Yet despite that, this is a better roster with more entrenched stars than you might expect for a team picking in the top three. There’s a path to a quick turnaround in D.C. if Daniels pans out.

After trading away both Chase Young and Montez Sweat at last year’s trade deadline, the Commanders retooled at the position by signing Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler Jr. and Clelin Ferrellin free agency. They were expected to address the position in the draft this year, but they didn’t use any of their top-100 picks on an edge defender. This leaves them in an awkward spot, as an otherwise good defense could be undone without more sack threats coming off the edge.

While Ngakoue isn’t a massive needle-mover, he brings reliable production as a situational pass rusher that the Commanders otherwise don’t have. Armstrong is excellent, but neither Ferrell nor Fowler have been major contributors in recent years. Whether Ngakoue starts or is simply part of the rotation, his burst around the edge is something Washington really needs.


The Cardinals continued to revamp their roster this offseason and did add a notable piece on the edge. First-round pick Darius Robinson joins 2023 second-rounder BJ Ojulari and converted linebacker Zaven Collins in the edge defender rotation. Ojulari had a promising rookie campaign, but Collins still has a lot to prove, and Robinson is still an unknown quantity as a rookie. There’s a need for some veteran production here.

Ngakoue is often criticized for his lack of run defense, but he’s been one of the most consistently productive edge rushers in the league during his career. Sack production is what Arizona lacks. His skillset might be a bit redundant with Ojulari, but that’s fine — you can never have too many pass rushers, and more to the point, the Cardinals need a fourth edge rusher anyway.

Arizona is still rebuilding their roster, but they have their franchise quarterback and some key pieces already. The Texans have mastered the art of accelerating rebuilds by supplementing a young core with cheaper, reliable veterans. The Cardinals may not be looking to contend this year, but Ngakoue brings valuable experience and production to a weak position group on the roster.

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