We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Reported deal: Two years/$26 million
Since the 2017 season, teams have been trying to replicate the 12.5 sack performance for Yannick Ngakoue. That never really clicked. That potential still outpriced him from the Jacksonville Jaguars’ rebuild. Then he lasted just half a season with the Minnesota Vikings while they found themselves out of playoff contention. He was traded to the Baltimore Ravens, but only served as a situational pass rusher by playing more than 70% of the defensive snaps just twice.
Ngaokue has the ability to make impact plays — he has at least eight sacks in every season — but the down-to-down pressure hasn’t always been there. He’s the type of player that can pin his ears back and jump off the line, but playing the full range of possibilities on early downs can be a problem. Baltimore put him in a position to do that and he was the least double-teamed edge rusher last season.
The Raiders were around an average pass rush team last season. They ranked 12th in pressure rate per Sports Info Solutions and 16th in Pass Block Win Rate. They didn’t have an alpha-type edge rusher despite using the fourth overall pick on Clelin Ferrell in 2019. Their fourth-round pick from that season, Maxx Crosby, has been the team’s best pass rusher over the past two seasons.
Last season, the Raiders had the sixth-highest rate of rushing four (72%) and that’s likely to continue under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Adding Ngaokue to that lines gives the Raiders the type of pass rusher they haven’t had but they’ll also need to make sure they’re putting him in the position to succeed that he got in his previous stop.