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The Jacksonville Jaguars have released Leonard Fournette, the club’s first round pick (No. 4 overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft. The high point of the Fournette era came in 2017, his rookie season, when the Jags went on an improbable run to the AFC Championship game only to lose after leading 20-10 in the 4th quarter. Fournette had 76 yards rushing and a touchdown in that game.
Then came injuries in 2018 and a solid 2019 that saw Fournette rush for 1,152 yards in 15 games, but just three touchdowns. He did have 76 catches and 522 yards receiving. Back in May the Jags declined Fournette’s fifth-year option, setting up for his release that came today.
So where does Fournette land? Here are five possible landing spots:
- Washington Football team: the headline this weekend in the Washington Post read “Questions remain at running back as Washington’s training camp winds down.” Need more proof Washington could be in the market? Adrian Peterson led the team in rushing last year and he’s back. He’s also 35.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: James Conner had injury problems (shoulder, knee & thigh) in 2019 and Steelers management. Big Ben’s 38 and coming off elbow surgery. Fournette pounding the football, play defense and take the pressure off Ben standing back there taking shots could be the gameplan running through Mike Tomlin’s head right now.
- Atlanta Falcons: Todd Gurley came over from the Rams, but what’s left there after the injuries piled up? Ito Smith spent time on injured reserve in 2019. The Falcons were third-worst in the NFL with 85 yards per game on the ground. Adding Fournette would take the pressure off Gurley, who’s on a one-year, $6 million contract, to have a monster season.
- Chicago Bears: David Montgomery suffered a groin injury last week that Outkick’s Dr. Chao addressed and said he doesn’t anticipate it would require surgery. Chao guesses Montgomery would be back sometime in September.
- New England Patriots: Would it be shocking for Bill Belichick to sniff around the scrapyard this time of year? Of course not it’s 2020. Buy low, get huge production, keep a stranglehold on the AFC East. Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel (offseason foot surgery) are already there, but the minute you think Bill’s set is the minute Hoodie swoops in and makes a move your team should’ve made. By now you should just expect it.
Got a text from another coach this AM on the #Jaguars: “Doug is trying to clean up the place.” With the up-and-down history with RB Leonard Fournette, Jax moves on. He was due $4M in salary after the team declined his fifth-year option.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 31, 2020