Until 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday, it can be redeemed. After that, it can be claimed on waivers for 24 hours. After that, he becomes a free agent.
No matter when or how running back Leonard Fournette lands with a new team, he’s destined to see his NFL career continue, somewhere. So where will this take place?
The Jaguars’ inability to find a business partner barely means there will be no interest in the player. Instead, neither team wanted to put themselves in Jacksonville’s shoes, owing Fournette $ 4.167 million guaranteed for his skills, injuries and cap – and no offbeat language if he is ultimately released.
However, Fournette’s skills justify the interest, as well as a chance to contribute to a team. He had 1,152 rushing yards last year and 522 more receiving yards. He’s an efficient and impressive runner between tackles, with the size and power to get through the first level and the speed to get him to the end zone.
While this isn’t the perfect time for Fournette to enter a meaningful competition for game time in a new town, he fits well in an attack with a simple and straightforward marching order – passing the ball to the middle of the line and emerge on the other side. .
Washington, which cut Derrius Guice earlier this month, makes sense. The Dolphins, with Jordan Howard as the first option, would benefit from Fournette. The Steelers, who struggled (unsuccessfully) to contain Fournette twice in 2017, would get a boost from Fournette. Plus, coach Mike Tomlin might be able to put a brutal end to whatever has made Fournette a pain in Jacksonville’s butt from time to time.
Chiefs lost Damien Williams following COVID-19 withdrawal; Combining Fournette with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (also from LSU) would give the Chiefs an incredibly dangerous running game. The Chargers, who watched Melvin Gordon go in free agency, could combine Fournette with Austin Ekeler.
Elsewhere in the NFC, the Eagles, Bears, Falcons, Buccaneers, Rams and Seahawks stand out as possibilities. If the Packers hadn’t drafted AJ Dillion, Green Bay would be an intriguing possibility, given that former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett now occupies that role with the Packers.
Then there are the Patriots, who are already attached to a team that could potentially sign Fournette for Peanuts and release him in their attack.
Either way, someone is going to have the guy who finished seventh in the league in the race last year, ahead of players like Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones and Josh Jacobs. Although the supply of skilled running backs outweighs the demand, Fournette still has some potentially special abilities that could make him one of the best running backs in the league.
The question is whether getting cut will give Fournette the wake-up call he needs. Almost 30 years ago to the day, the Eagles gave up on a receiver who needed a wake-up call (for different reasons), officially saying “all he does is catch touchdowns” . Everything Cris Carter did after that became a Hall of Fame in Minnesota.