Does Les Snead want any more of Jacksonville Jaguars’ GM Dave Caldwell’s failed first round picks? He may get another opportunity at least.
The Jaguars are releasing running back Leonard Fournette, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft, according to numerous Monday morning reports.
#Jaguars are releasing RB Leonard Fournette, source says.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 31, 2020
A controversial selection at the peak of the “running backs don’t matter” debate, Fournette went ahead of Jamal Adams, Christian McCaffrey, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, among others. As a rookie, he rushed for 1,040 yards, nine touchdowns, 3.9 yards per carry and had 36 receptions over 13 games. Fournette also had an NFL-best 90-yard run that season — although that really makes you think about how much lower his 3.9 YPC mark would have been without it.
Fournette missed eight games in year two, failing to reach 100 yards or 5 yards per carry in any game he appeared in that season.
Then in 2019, Fournette had the most monstrous game of his career, rushing for 225 yards and adding 20 receiving yards in a win over the Denver Broncos. But in his final eight games, Fournette had 121 carries for 437 yards, a 3.6 YPC average, with only two touchdowns. Fournette posted a career-high 76 receptions, but gained only 522 yards and scored exactly zero times through the air.
On his bright side, Fournette has only fumbled three times over 666 career carries and 134 receptions, for an average of one fumble for every 266 touches.
The LA Rams drafted running back Cam Akers in the second round this year and return Darrell Henderson, a third round pick in 2019. But Henderson has been sidelined with an injury and his status for Week 1 is unknown. They haven’t much cap space but how many suitors Fournette will have is unclear; what is clear is that “veteran” (Fournette is 25) running backs can have a hard time finding work and pay that is acceptable to them.
Devonta Freeman, 28, also remains a free agent. He had 1,066 total yards and six touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons last season.
Snead has picked up Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler from the Jaguars in recent years, but apparently Jacksonville couldn’t even get a Day 3 pick in return for Fournette. Should the Rams at all feel vulnerable at the running back position with a rookie, an injured second year player and Malcolm Brown, at least their free agent options at the position continue to rise.