Jaguars move forward with Fournette after trade talks fail
JACKSONVILLE — Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has been a subject of trade speculation, and the Jaguars declined to pick up his fifth-year option last week.
Despite it all, Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said on the Pro Football Talk PM podcast earlier this week that they’re going forward with Fournette on the team.
“I had a good conversation with him on Friday,” Caldwell said. “Coach [Doug] Marrone has had some discussions with him. He seems to be in great shape, and is in a great mental frame of mind.”
Yet, Caldwell admitted on the podcast they had trade discussions involving Fournette that he described as just minor, nothing substantial.
During the draft, the Jaguars reportedly reached out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of their No. 76 overall pick in the third round to offer Fournette, 25, in a trade deal. However, Tampa Bay declined the offer and selected former Vanderbilt running back Ke’ Shawn Vaughn.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I promise that every day I’m going to bust my … ,” Fournette wrote on his Twitter account following the draft last week. “I know it’s a business, and I’ll be ready at my best for the next season.”
By declining Fournette’s option, he will be in the final year of his rookie fouryear $27.1 million contract this upcoming season.
Fournette, the fourth overall pick in 2017, is due to make $4.17 million in 2020 and will count $8.64 million against the Jaguars’ salary cap.
In a make-or-break season in 2019, Fournette shined with more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage in 15 games last season. He had 265 carries for 1,152 yards and caught 76 passes for 522 yards.
It was a turnaround from the 2018 season when Fournette missed six of the first eight games with a sore right hamstring and was unproductive when he returned. Fournette rushed for 439 yards on 133 yards and averaged just 3.3 yards a carry.
As a rookie in 2017, Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards to help lead the Jaguars to the AFC Championship game.
The Jaguars are counting on running back Leonard Fournette to deliver in his fourth season with the team.