The Las Vegas Raiders have had a busy week in free agency. They landed Pro Bowl defensive end Chandler Jones on Wednesday. That made Yannick Ngakoue expendable, and they treated him as such. The Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a trade that sends Ngakoue to the Colts in exchange for defensive back Rock Ya-Sin.
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The Raiders are coming off their first playoff appearance in five years, and for only the second time since losing the Super Bowl 20 years ago. They are looking to strengthen their defense, as the other teams in the AFC West are loading up. Meanwhile, the Colts improved their pass rush with the acquisition of Ngakoue.
So, let’s grade the Las Vegas Raiders-Indianapolis Colts Yannick Ngakoue trade.
Grading the Raiders-Colts Yannick Ngakoue Trade
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: B+
The Colts ranked near the bottom of the NFL with only 33 sacks in 2021. Adding the Pro Bowl defensive end should help tremendously. It is also a solid move for the future. Ngakoue is only 27 years old, so he is just entering his prime.
Ngakoue made a splash early in his career, posting eight or more sacks in each of his first four seasons in the NFL. He had a career-high 12 sacks during his sophomore campaign in 2017. However, after the Jaguars attempted to franchise tag him last season, he refused to play for Jacksonville. So, Ngakoue was traded to the Minnesota Vikings.
After a couple ineffective, injury-plagued seasons in Minnesota and Baltimore, Ngakoue returned to form last season in Las Vegas. He finished the year with 10 sacks, eight tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
Ngakoue will join Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner to create a very good defensive front in Indianapolis. The Colts will pick up his most of the slack on the remainder of his contract, owing $13 million.
Knowing the Colts still have their top cornerback in Kenny Moore, it’s not a lethal blow to their secondary. However, Rock Ya-Sin is still someone that will need to be replaced as he produced at a high level last season.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: A-
This move only works for the Raiders if they replaced Ngakoue, which they did. It’s hard to argue that Chandler Jones is not an upgrade, even though Ngakoue is very good. Because of that luxury, they were able to make the addition of Rock Ya-Sin to the secondary.
Ya-Sin was very good for the Colts last season. He finished the year with 31 tackles in 13 games, and was graded by Pro Football Focus as the 28th best cornerback among the 116 qualifying players.
The Raiders will have to play six games next year against Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson. So, an upgrade to the secondary was absolutely essential.