how does the noise change when you simply rest your foot on the clutch pedal? if the noise changes and you only moved the pedal 1/4 of an inch, its probably the throwout bearing.
if youre saying the clutch engages after something slides into place, maybe the bearing is completely shot and is binding on the transmission input shaft.
seems like either way whether its the bearing or the fingers, youll have to pull the tranny to fix it. get quotes on a clutch and throwout bearing then pull the tranny and see whats up. then go get the part you need.
it may also be the synchros in your tranny. how many miles?
Current: 1999 TJ 4.0 5 Speed
Past: 1999 XJ 4.0 Auto, 1993 XJ 4.0 5 Speed, 1997 TJ 4.0 5 Speed, 1994 XJ 4.0 5 Speed, 1993 Cadillac Sedan Deville 4.9L V8, 1991 Isuzu TrooperII 2.8L 5 Speed