Would a Yannick Ngakoue trade be wise for Cleveland Browns?
When it comes to buzz around adding any new player this offseason, whether it be through free agency or a trade, defensive end is a position that has drawn tons of noise for the Cleveland Browns this offseason.
In a recent article from ESPN’s Field Yates, he had the Browns trading for Yannick Ngakoue, while giving up Njoku and a 2021 second-round pick.
Yes, you would think that the Jaguars would want to collect a larger haul for Ngakoue, but with the way his market has been going, I just don’t see it getting much better than this. The Jaguars would be getting a second-round pick and a tight end who has shown flashes of the capability to be a very solid tight end.
However, it seems as though Njoku has had more downs than ups in his career when it comes to trouble blocking and dropped passes. Ultimately, the potential remains on the table for Njoku.
As for the Browns perspective, adding a top tier pass rusher like Ngakoue would help in a big way. With an overall grade of 72.0 courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Ngakoue was 30th amongst other ends in sacks with eight, 21st in solo tackles with 31, and tied for fourth in forced fumbles with four. That said, there are still a few things that should be a concern for the Browns moving forward.
What are the two major keys that seem to send teams away from the defensive end? Money and the franchise tag. With reports of Ngakoue and a new contract for him being around $20 million per season, that is not something the Browns should take on.
Yes, the Browns technically have the most cap space in the NFL. In reality, they are far from it. The list of players that the Browns have to pay based on expiring rookie contracts is a long one. Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Denzel Ward, and Myles Garrett are all guys that will be due for new contracts soon that will be worth locking up for a long time.
While I would ultimately welcome this specific trade scenario from ESPN with open arms, the money is still a huge factor. The best option at this point is to sign veteran pass rusher Everson Griffen. A much cheaper option, Griffen has plenty of experience and would compliment Myles Garrett well.
Again, trading for a guy who is expecting to get $20 million a year does not make sense for the Browns right now. Pay the young and bright future of this organization and surround those guys with pieces that put you in the best position to win, pieces that are not $20-plus million.