The Las Vegas Raiders made one of the bigger splashes when free agency began as they landed coveted pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
The Raiders agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal with Ngakoue, and he should immediately come in and bolster a pass rush that was sorely lacking during the 2020 season. Las Vegas was one of the worst teams generating pressure and sacking opposing quarterbacks, but Ngakoue should improve upon those marks.
While the Raiders remain one of the most popular NFL franchises, they have struggled to win games for nearly two decades. A combination of poor coaching, roster construction, and bad luck has played a part in that, but the team finally appears on the way up under head coach Jon Gruden.
In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Ngakoue noted that despite, via Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk.
“I never once ever came out and said that I wanted to play for the Raiders for a long time,” Ngakoue said during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “But you’d have to be a fool not to want to play for the Raiders — just the tradition and the history behind them, the Hall of Famers they have. I aspire to be a Hall of Famer one day when it’s all said and done and I hang up my cleats. It’s just more motivation when I walk into that building, just to see all the others that did it.”
The Silver and Black have a rich history of Hall of Famers who have played for the franchise, and it appears that played a factor in Ngakoue’s decision to join the team. The mystique and lore of dressing in a Raiders uniform still carry weight around the league and its players, and the pass rusher seems to understand that fully.
However, Ngakoue will need to put together a monstrous season next year to achieve his lofty goals. It will be interesting to see if he can make the defensive impact Gruden and the rest of the coaching staff expect him to make once the new year kicks off.