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Training Camp 2020: Caldwell, Ngakoue in contact

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

JACKSONVILLE – David Caldwell and Yannick Ngakoue are communicating.

"He and I have been in contact the last couple of days," Caldwell said.

What that means in terms of Ngakoue – the Jaguars' veteran defensive end – reporting to 2020 Training Camp remains to be seen.

"I think that is for him to discuss," Caldwell, the Jaguars' general manager, said during a videoconference with local media Tuesday morning as 2020 Training Camp continues.

"As far as the Yannick situation goes, I think you'd have to talk to him. I'm very cautious of speaking for him. … He's earned the right to do what's best for him and his family, so I'm going to defer any of his future questions to him and try to keep our conversations between he and I."

Ngakoue, entering his fifth NFL season, has yet to sign the franchise tag the team placed on him in March – and he has yet to report to 2020 Training Camp. He reportedly has parted ways with his former agent, Ari Nissim – and he reportedly is in a five-day waiting period before he can hire new representation.

Because the sides did not agree to a long-term deal before July 15, Ngakoue must play for the Jaguars this season under the franchise tag on a one-year contract worth approximately $17.8 million – or not play at all.

Ngakoue not yet reporting to camp is not a violation of NFL rules because he is not under contract until he signs the franchise tag. Caldwell declined to discuss how as change in representation might impact Ngakoue's situation.

"I don't have a feel for that one way or the other," Caldwell said. "I'm going to not speak for Yann out of respect for him. He's earned the right. He played his contract out. He played four years. He has earned the right to do what's best for his family."

Ngakoue, a third-round selection in the 2016 NFL draft, has registered 37.5 sacks in four seasons – including a career-high 12 sacks in 2017. He registered 9.5 sacks in 2018 and eight in 2019. He also has two career interceptions, nine passes defensed and 14 forced fumbles.

Ngakoue multiple times during the offseason indicated that he wanted to be trade. Caldwell shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft said the Jaguars were very open to having Ngakoue return, something he reiterated Tuesday.

"Obviously, he's a guy who we know what he brings to the table," Caldwell said. "His coaches love him. His teammates love him. We love his energy. The fan base loves him. Ideally, we would love to have him here. But I'll let him speak on his behalf on what's going on. I know he's making some calculated decisions."

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