With free agency in full swing, many Los Angeles Rams fans are waiting for their team to land a big name. While we don’t know who the Rams will resign and who they’ll let walk, we can speculate which outsiders they might potentially pursue. One of those outsiders is pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Why should LA go after former Pro Bowler? Let’s dive into his free agent profile.
Ngakoue has been a good edge rusher ever since he was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016 in the third round. Despite being a third selection, Ngakoue contributed right away. His eight sacks as a rookie set a Jaguars franchise rookie record.
The former Maryland Terrapin has amassed 45.5 sacks, 18 forced fumbles, and 96 quarterback hits in 78 career games (70 starts). He’s never been a great of a run defender, but in today’s league that’s becoming less and less of an issue as teams pass more often.
He’s coming off a decent, but not great, season in which he totaled eight sacks while playing for both the Vikings and Ravens. Pro Football Focus graded Ngakoue with a solid 70.0 for the ‘20-‘21 campaign. Perhaps the right change of scenery would benefit him. At just 25 years old, he still has potential to become a consistently elite pass rusher.
How would Ngakoue fit with the Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are in need of an elite pass rusher. That’s especially the case with Leonard Floyd set to leave in free agency. Ngakoue would be a great fit in new defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris’ scheme. Ngakoue would be able to come in to Los Angeles and be the guy.
At 25 years old, he has the potential to be one of the game’s best pass rushers. Like Dante Fowler Jr. and Floyd the last two years, Ngakoue could sign a one or two year deal with the Rams and then cash out when he once again becomes a free agent. Playing next to Aaron Donald would certainly be a benefit to a pass rusher like Ngakoue.
Aside from money, there are two key selling points that the Rams should throw at Ngakoue: A chance at a Super Bowl ring, and lining up by the best defensive player in the game. That’s really all Les Snead and co. should have to say to convince free agent to move to the City of Angels.
Being able to play next to Donald would boost Ngakoue’s numbers instantly. One could argue that Ngakoue is more talented than Fowler and Floyd. a 12+ sack season wouldn’t be completely out of the question.
As far as contending for a championship, the sky is the limit for the Rams with Matthew Stafford under center. While the defense will likely take a small step back, the offense looks to be one of the best in the league now. Adding Ngakoue would only improve this team’s Super Bowl odds.
Free Agency Outlook
The Rams are strapped over the cap, but they do have the ability to create space. There have been reports that the Rams are trying to trade Robert Woods and/or Michael Brockers to free up cap space. Restructures are also most likely in the cards. Spotrac has Ngakoue’s market value set at four years, $62.3M with an average salary of $15.5M.
The Rams most likely won’t be able to offer that, playing with Donald and being on a championship contender could give the Rams an advantage. Ngakoue could probably warrant more money from other suitors, but few could offer the same chance at a championship and playing alongside a player of Donald’s caliber (there are none).
It’s not looking very likely that Leonard Floyd is going to resign with the Rams. If he does, indeed, walk, they’ll need to bring in someone of his caliber to replace him. Ngakoue could perform even better than Floyd did last year, and really strike fear into opposing quarterbacks. If the Rams are able to snag the pass rusher, they just might boast the best pass rushing duo in the league.