Leonard Fournette was highly touted coming out of LSU and into the 2017 NFL Draft. Some were going so far as to compare him to the future Hall of Famer, Adrian Peterson.
And Fournette’s rookie year made it seem as though those comparisons might not be as far-fetched as some people may have thought. He delivered 1,040 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns for a resurgent Jacksonville Jaguars team that was centered around a strong running game.
However, since then, Fournette has averaged 3.3 yards per carry, missed 8 games this season due to injury and got suspended for coming off the bench and throwing punches in a game against Buffalo.
Adding to all of that, Fournette was on the sidelines in Week 17 not paying attention with fellow running back, T.J. Yeldon. He was apparently a distraction and cracking jokes the duration of the game and it did not sit well with V.P. of Football Operations, Tom Coughlin.
Jaguars reportedly inform Leonard Fournette that they'll void his remaining guarantees, based on his one-game suspension https://t.co/4JBDktZFRW
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 31, 2018
It seems likely that the Jaguars may be heading towards blowing up that entire roster. Blake Bortles is unlikely to return to the team in 2019, the defense is aging and some players are causing more headaches than they’re worth…
If Tom Coughlin is indeed as fed up with Fournette as he seems to be, it seems like a no-brainer that Fournette is out of Jacksonville.
Add the feelings of Coughlin to the fact that the Jaguars were able to void the remaining guarantees of Fournette’s contract and it seems likely that he’ll be moved. The Jaguars can move on from Fournette with no cap penalty or owing him anything.
It just now becomes a question of, “Where would Fournette be a good fit?”
Tampa Bay Is Being Discussed As A Landing Spot
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes that the Buccaneers may be the best fit for Fournette’s services.
Knox details his thinking a little bit more saying,
“They have a potential draft bust of their own in Ronald Jones, they finished with the fourth-fewest rushing yards (95.2 per game) and they’re picking high in the draft.
A high third-round pick might be enough to take a potential headache off Jacksonville’s hands. Adding him to the group of Jones and Peyton Barber would at least give the Buccaneers a functional rushing attack. If Fournette reaches his full potential in Tampa, that would be a bonus.”
However, news broke earlier today that Bruce Arians is expected to be announced as the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the next few days.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 7, 2019
Arians Values Pass-Catching Out Of The Backfield
In Arians’ offense, traditionally there’s been a running back who is heavily utilized in the passing game.
(Think David Johnson in 2016 with 80 receptions)
Needless to say, Fournette isn’t necessarily known for his pass-catching ability. He’s a downhill runner who exceeds when given the ball 20+ times on the ground in a game and he hasn’t exceeded 36 catches in a season up to this point…
If Fournette were available on the open market, it could work to have Arians and Fournette together…but it’s unlikely that Arians would cough up a draft pick to go get him, so it’s likely that he ends up elsewhere.
Fournette fits best with a team that is committed to running the ball, giving him a heavy workload and relying on their defense. Be on the watch for teams like Buffalo, Baltimore or one of the other head coaching vacancies that gets filled with a Head Coach with that style of football to make a move to get him.
When there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and it’s looking more and more likely that Fournette’s days in Jacksonville are over after only two years.
Now it’s time to sit back and see where he ends up…