NFL Football

Ngakoue rejoins Jaguars, vows to play even without new deal

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

By MARK LONG

AP Sports Writer

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."

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Updated May 21, 2019

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Teams Score Time
Arizona 27 F
New York 21
Houston 23 F
Indianapolis 30
Jacksonville 27 F
Cincinnati 17
Los Angeles 37 F
Atlanta 10
Miami 21 F
Buffalo 31
Minnesota 42 F
Detroit 30
Oakland 24 F
Green Bay 42
San Francisco 9 F
Washington 0
Los Angeles 20 F
Tennessee 23
Baltimore 30 F
Seattle 16
New Orleans 36 F
Chicago 25
Philadelphia 10 1:57 4th
Dallas 37
New England   8:15pm
New York  
Teams Score Time
Vancouver 3 F
New York 2
Montreal 3 F
Minnesota 4
Edmonton 0 F/SO
Winnipeg 1
Washington 5 F
Chicago 3
Calgary 2 00:12 3rd
Anaheim 1
Columbus   7:00pm
Toronto  
Vegas   7:00pm
Philadelphia  
Colorado   8:00pm
St. Louis  
Ottawa   8:30pm
Dallas  
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT KANSAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 11 Denny Hamlin 23
2 9 Chase Elliott 14
3 18 Kyle Busch 18
4 1 Kurt Busch 15
5 24 William Byron 25
6 19 Martin Truex Jr 11
7 20 Erik Jones 20
8 14 Clint Bowyer 21
9 4 Kevin Harvick 40
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT KANSAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 19 Brandon Jones 2
2 2 Tyler Reddick 4
3 98 Chase Briscoe 11
4 1 Michael Annett 38
5 7 Justin Allgaier 7
6 51 Jeremy Clements 6
7 11 Justin Haley 12
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 15
9 39 Ryan Sieg 13
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT TALLADEGA
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 20 Spencer Boyd 25
2 4 Todd Gilliland 6
3 51 Riley Herbst 7
4 24 Brett Moffitt 8
5 52 Stewart Friesen 10
6 16 Austin Hill 13
7 17 Tyler Ankrum 2
8 88 Matt Crafton 1
9 2 Sheldon Creed 5