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Should the Eagles kick the tires on Leonard Fournette?

31 August 2020 Uncategorized

Leonard Fournette, who was drafted fourth overall in 2016 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was released this morning. This move was unexpected for the sole reason that Fournette is on an expiring contract and is a free agent at the end of the year, which means the Jaguars could have just ridden the year out and ran him into the ground for all the yards they could.

They could have let him walk as a FA, and gotten a compensatory pick back, which certainly makes more sense than losing him for nothing, which is what has happened today. So why did they let him walk for free?

Fournette was a superstar in college at LSU for his 3 years there, totaling 3,830 yards on 616 attempts, a staggering 6.2 yards per carry but wasn’t a true receiving threat, with the most catches he had in one year being 18.  he scored 40 touchdowns though, and due to these stats was considered a top 3 talent in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Given all of this, Fournette has been underwhelming so far in the pros. Sure, he has some gaudy numbers, his stats from last year of 265 carries for 1145 yards and 76 catches for 522 yards standing out among them, but he wasn’t able to score frequently and it was the first time in his professional career that he averaged over 4 yards per carry.

He has also been a slight problem character wise as well, the most notable incident being during the 2018 season where he got into a fistfight with Bills defensive player Shaq Lawson as part of a brawl between the two teams.

He received a one game suspension for this, and it was reportedly this incident that led to the Jaguars exploring ways to separate themselves from the somewhat underachieving running back by voiding the remaining guarantees on his contract, a legal fight that is still ongoing today. It is most likely due to this incident that the Jaguars were reportedly unable to find a deal for any sort of draft or player compensation, not even a conditional pick.

Leonard Fournette is still a good running back, and I am all about the Eagles doing their due diligence and kicking the tires on him. It has to be taken into account that he is an awesome power back in the mold of LeGarrette Blount, who was a key piece of the Super Bowl run 2 years ago, and that he can still make plays, but the cap issues that the Eagles are currently in means they do not have a lot of money to spend. Given all the issues surrounding him, I wouldn’t be opposed to bring him in on a low cost deal, no more than what he is currently guaranteed: 4.2 million. But at that price, it is a risky investment.