Yannick Ngakoue would've been an interesting name to watch for the Giants if he had actually become a free agent. Of course they had interest in a dynamic, 24-year-old pass rusher. Who wouldn't?
But few around the NFL thought the Giants would be willing to spend the mega millions needed to land him.
And that's why a pricey trade for the budding star is unlikely, too.
That would be the only option for any team interested in Ngakoue now, after the Jacksonville Jaguars informed him they intend to place the franchise tag on him this week. Ngakoue immediately reacted on Twitter, saying "I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville."
And that led to speculation that the Jaguars are setting up for a tag-and-trade.
It's certainly possible, especially if they fear Ngakoue will refuse to sign the franchise tag and hold out into the summer, or even the season. And if he's available, the Giants will certainly be among the many teams to place a call.
But the price will be extreme and possibly not worth it to a team still in the rebuilding stages. The Jaguars would surely want the Giants' first-round pick (fourth overall) and possibly more. Their guide will likely be the deal that sent Seattle's franchised pass rusher, Frank Clark, to Kansas City last April -- for a 2019 first-rounder, a 2020 second-rounder and a swap of third-round picks.
It doesn't help that the Giants already traded away a valuable asset -- a high third-round pick in this draft -- in their bizarre trade for Leonard Williams back in October. That limits their ability to add to any deal.
And even if they were willing to give up multiple valuable picks, that's not the entire cost of a trade for Ngakoue, because it would make no sense for the Giants unless they're able to sign him to a long-term contract. Getting him for one year at the franchise tag price of about $19 million is a waste for a team not ready to win. They'd need to still sign him, likely to a deal that exceeds the five-year, $103.5 million contract (with $63.5 million guaranteed) that the Chiefs gave Clark after trading for him last offseason.
Some believe that Ngakoue, on the open market, would've come close to the $23.5 million per year the Chicago Bears gave to Khalil Mack, with perhaps as much as $75-80 million guaranteed -- which is surely what he'll ask for from any interested team.
That's a steep price to pay in cash, cap space and draft picks for any player, even for one loaded with as much potential as Ngakoue. Because as highly regarded as the 6-2, 246-pound edge rusher is, he's still only had double-digit sacks once in his career -- 12 back in 2017. He would fill a huge need for the Giants, no doubt.
But bringing him in would severely restrict their ability to fill their holes everywhere else.