JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Standout defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was a no-show as the Jacksonville Jaguars reported for training camp Wednesday.
Meanwhile, two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey put on a show outside the team’s training facility. Ramsey arrived in an armored truck and exited the back doors as the driver announced into a megaphone “it’s time to get this money, money.”
Ramsey is entering the final year of his $23.3 million rookie contract. The Jaguars exercised the fifth-year option in the deal, meaning he’s tied to the club for $13.7 million in 2020.
The Jaguars expect the former Florida State standout to be a long-term piece of their defense. But they’re unwilling to give him an extension with two years remaining on his current contract and told him so earlier this year.
Still, Ramsey made it clear with his grand entrance that he expects to get handsomely paid.
The driver, dressed in all black and wearing an armored vest, pulled up near the front gate and introduced Ramsey.
“This man’s coverage is so good, he’s fixing to have his own cellphone service,” the driver said. “The man’s so good, they’re fixing to give him his own jail … because these receivers are on 24-hour lockdown. If you check his pocket, he’s got eight Master locks in his pocket. They’re on lockdown all season. The man, the myth, Jalen Ramsey.”
Jacksonville has a little more than $9 million in cap space available, but should be in better financial shape next year after getting rid of about $24 million in dead money already paid to quarterback Blake Bortles, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and others.
The team has enough cap space to get a deal done with Ngakoue before the season. It’s unclear how a holdout will affect negotiations.
Ngakoue showed up for the start of voluntary organized team activities in May, vowed to attend the remaining dozen practices and emphatically said he planned to play this season even if he didn’t get a long-term contract. He bailed three days later and was fined nearly $90,000 for skipping a mandatory minicamp in June.
The former Maryland star, 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.
The Jaguars have said they want to re-sign the 24-year-old Ngakoue, but there’s no guarantee it will happen.
Although Ngakoue has clearly outperformed his current deal, he’s also an undersized defensive end who could be stouter against the run. Plus, the Jaguars landed his potential replacement in April when they selected Kentucky standout Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick in the draft.
Ngakoue has 29 ½ sacks and 10 forced fumbles in three NFL seasons. He finished with 9 ½ sacks last year, but had no strip sacks for the first time in his NFL career.
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