Updated: Sep 1, 2020
After a 1600+ total yard campaign in 2019, Leonard Fournette has been released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on the morning of August 30th, 2020. One thing though, he has one year on his rookie contract left, he is going to want big money.
Newly released free agent running back Leonard Fournette can rejoice, he is no longer a Jaguar, something he has been wanting for a while. The Jaguars tried to trade him during the 2020 NFL Draft and up until Monday morning ,they couldn't find a trade partner. Smart move by NFL teams because this was Fournette's last year wit the team and he wouldn't have resigned. in his 3-year career, Fournette accumulated 666 rushes for 3640 total yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 4.0 yards per attempt and 73.1 yards per game. In 2019 he recorded 265 carries for 1152 yards and 3 touchdowns. Here are some potential landing spots.
New England Patriots
New England is in dire need of a running back even though they signed Lamar Miller. The Patriots have a reputation of getting players that sometimes they don't need or who they can sign for very little money and get high production out of, hence Cam Newton. They are thin at the RB position with an injured Sony Michel and James White getting up in age and coming off a down year. Leonard will add power and speed to the backfield, he is also gritty and that is something you need if you are going to be a Patriot. Finally, he fits the style of offense in New England, Fournette can run and catch and line up as a receiver, a versatile player. He should definitely keep New England in mind and have open arms to them.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams no longer have Todd Gurley in their backfield, but they do have rookie Cam Akers. Los Angeles has two main RBs they're using, Malcom Brown and Darrell Henderson, not longterm answers. They could be interested in Mr.Fournette, who has one-year left on his rookie contract and maybe they could strike a new deal for a long term player. Although this is probably a lesser possibility, the Rams would be a landing spot that would make sense in the long run. Also, may I add that a duo of Akers and Fournette would be lethal, both can run and catch, Akers as a 3rd down back and Fournette the #1, yikes.
Chicago has two RBs, David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen, not very scary if you ask me. If they add Leonard into the mix, then there is a running back by committee or share time between Montgomery and Fournette as the #1 then Cohen as the 3rd down back. The big reason why teams will hold back is that he only has one year left on his contract, with little time to negotiate and having less money to spend in 2021, teams will be hesitant. But just imagine, Fournette running behind the offensive line with rookie TE Cole Kmet, receivers Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, and David Montgomery, now that sounds like a better offense. Chicago and New England are the only two teams so far, that I can see who will hold onto Fournette for more than his current contract.
Los Angeles Chargers
This is a big reach, the Chargers have already explained they like their running backs Austin Ekler and Justin Jackson. They drafted Joshua Kelly, where is there room for Fournette? Justin Jackson can be traded, Los Angeles has no big backs, they have speedy, small backs. The Chargers offense are two players away from being great, a QB and one more offensive playmaker. The Chargers are heavily invested in the run game, why not add a top 10 of the past few years to your offense. He fits in well, playa action would fool the defense and the receivers will open the lanes for the physical Fournette. This is close to impossible of happening but you have to throw one surprise in the mix.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
HC Bruce Arians has been quoted on the potential signing of Leonard Fournette, "We'll wait and see. He's been a good player. We have to see where he fits." Obviously a busy RB room, could Fournette be a rental for Tampa this year and have Ronald Jones share time with Leonard? The Buccaneers would be even more dangerous with Fournette on the offense. Doubt this will happen as well but you never know.
* Honorable Mentions- Washington Football Team, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins
Leonard Fournette will instantly impact any offense he ends up on in 2020. He is versatile, physical, energetic, and an established pass catcher out of the backfield. Definitely worth a longterm contract extension, Fournette will follow the money if it's a playoff contender team. This situation will be heavily monitored throughout the process by the NFL and major sports stations.