The Jaguars have officially released running back Leonard Fournette, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. After months of searching for a trade, Jacksonville ultimately decided they were better without Fournette and moved on from the former 4th overall pick before final cutdown day for NFL teams on September 5th. It’s tough to know Fournette’s market given the lack on interest the Jaguars received on the trade front, but it’s still hard to imagine such a talented player will be unable to find a job. Here are a few places that could be a fit as Fournette looking to revive his career:
Washington Football Team
After the release of Fournette’s former LSU teammate Derrius Guice following a domestic violence dispute and multiple rape allegations, Washington was left with 35-year old Adrian Peterson to lead their backfield. Fournette drew comparisons to Peterson in high school and college, so having him as a mentor could do wonders for his career. Rookie Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love will also look to vie for the starting job, but bringing in Fournette could change all of that. Washington has proven to have no problem with big name, troubled players in the past, and Fournette comes in less troubled than most.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa’s running back spot is probably the biggest question mark on their offense. They went out and signed veteran LeSean McCoy to try to improve the position during training camp, but the 32-year old doesn’t have much tread left on those tires. Signing Fournette would give Tampa and immediate upgrade and the kind of goalline back they severely lack, not to mention the plus of adding another talented player to an already star-loaded offense. For Fournette, there’s the added bonus of not having to leave Florida. He can save some money on moving costs, which might not be insignificant given the current state of his career…
Kansas City Chiefs
While Kansas City did draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round, they also lost Damien Williams after he opted out of the 2020 season which was not something they had prepared for. It doesn’t help that McCoy is also gone, though if Andy Reid had any interest in bringing him back, he had every opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, Fournette would provide a nice contrast to Edwards-Halaire in the run game for Kansas City. Patrick MaHomes can make anybody on offense look good, but the holes he could open up for Fournette would be significant.
Pittsburgh seems committed to James Conner, but he did only average 4.0 yards per carry in 2019 which ranked 34th out of 47 players with at least 100 rushing attempts. The Steelers other top rusher, Benny Snell, ranked 36th on that list. The lack of a passing offense didn’t help those numbers, but the Steelers could still use a talent upgrade. While Fournette wouldn’t bring them back to the Le’Veon Bell days, he’d be better than what they currently have at the position. Their offensive like doesn’t appear to be the issue, finishing in the top ten as a unit last season according to prognosticators around the league, so giving Fournette a shot running behind proven talents like David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster seems like a logical decision.
Los Angeles Chargers
Anthony Lynn could use a power running back to complement Austin Eckler, especially with Justin Jackson as the only other semi-proven player at the position on their roster. The Chargers are expected to be somewhat run heavy with a rookie quarterback and a talented defense, so having Fournette could help them in that aspect. Their appetite to bring a player like Fournette into the mix after spending last season dealing with Melvin Gordon’s drama is unknown (albeit likely low), but the on-field fit is undeniable.
Photo: (Darren Yamashita – USA Today Sports)