Report: Jaguars Have Had Trade Discussions About Leonard Fournette
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't been afraid to trade away high-priced veterans this offseason, but what about some of their younger, cost-controlled talent? It appears they may be open to trading those type of players as well.
According to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Jaguars have had trade discussions with other teams in regards to a potential trade for fourth-year running back Leonard Fournette, whom the Jaguars selected No. 4 overall in 2017.
The Jaguars have already traded away Calais Campbell, Nick Foles and A.J. Bouye this offseason, and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has constantly pushed to be traded out of Jacksonville as well.
Fournette is entering the final year of his rookie contract and, if he is on the roster, the team will need to make a decision on his fifth-year option in the coming weeks.
Fournette has made headlines in recent weeks due to publicly pushing for the Jaguars to sign free agent quarterback Cam Newton even though they have Gardner Minshew II slated to be the starter. This has garnered enough attention that head coach Doug Marrone issued a comment on the matter.
But there is a strong chance trade talks have nothing to do with Fournette's push for Newton, and are instead centered around the fact that he is on an expiring contract at a replaceable position. It has seemed unlikely for some time that the Jaguars would seek an extension with Fournette, and if this is the case then it makes plenty of sense for them to attempt to acquire more draft capital for the veteran running back.
In three seasons, Fournette has played in 36 career games and rushed 666 times for 2,631 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns, along with 134 receptions for 1,009 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
Fournette's career got off to a strong start in 2017 as he served as a catalyst for the Jaguars' appearance in the AFC Championship, but he has failed to build upon that momentum. He suffered through injuries and immaturity issues in 2018, leading to only 439 rushing yards and 3.3 yards per carry in eight games.
In 2019, Fournette did rebound to a degree. He was one of the AFC's most productive backs from an all-purpose yards perspective, recording 1,152 rushing yards (4.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns as well as 76 receptions for 522 yards.
The Jaguars currently hold 12 draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday. By trading Fournette, they could get value for a player they don't intend to re-sign and continue to expand upon their draft capital.
As for a possible replacement for Fournette, the Jaguars did draft Ryquell Armstead in the fifth-round in 2019. As a rookie, Armstead recorded 35 rushes for 108 yards and 14 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns, giving him only one fewer touchdown than Fournette on the season.