The Jacksonville Jaguars have released former fourth-overall pick, Leonard Fournette. Fournette is coming off an impressive 2019 season that saw him rush for 1,152 yards and catch 76 passes for 522 yards. That level of production does not enter the free agency in their prime often and Fournette could be one of the hottest free agents in recent times. Several NFL teams could use a player who can add 1,600 yards from scrimmage to their offense. While Fournette may only be a rental for the team he lands with for 2020, he will look to play well and earn a big contract in the upcoming off-season. Here are five potential Leonard Fournette landing spots.
Five Potential Landing Spots for Leonard Fournette
The Buccaneers have completely rebuilt their offense this off-season with new faces. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski being those additions to an offense that already had two pro bowl receivers. Their running back position is the weak link on offense. Sophomore running back Ronald Jones has the most potential in the position group. The Bucs have shown they are willing to bring in new players on offense and Fournette could put Tampa Bay over the top in the NFC.
The biggest running back on Tampa Bay right now is Dare Ogunbowale. Ogunbowale is 5-foot-11 and 220 lbs. Fournette is even bigger at 6-feet tall and 228 lbs. Fournette is also a proven rusher coming off a 1,000-yard season in 2019. Not to mention Fournette is a former fourth overall pick. Fournette would add that power running to an offense that will rely heavily on their passing offense in 2020 with its current configuration.
The Washington Football Team recently released running back Derrius Guice due to off-field issues. This leaves them with 35-year-old Adrian Peterson, rookie running back Antonio Gibson, and former fourth-round pick Bryce Love to fight for carries. Fournette would be an immediate upgrade to all three backs currently in Washington. Washington currently lacks stars and faces of the future on offense and Fournette could potentially give them both. Fournette is looking for his next home following his release from Jacksonville. Washington has a good chance to extend the running back off a solid 2020 season. Fournette would be a top star on the Washington roster if he joined the team. He could easily get the contract he wants in Washington if he plays well. This is the perfect scenario of the Leonard Fournette landing spots considering both a player and a franchise are both looking for an identity after a much-needed refresh.
The Chicago Bears have had interesting movement at the running back position in recent years. They selected Jordan Howard in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft and he quickly became the starter and rushed for 1,300 yards in his rookie season. This earned Howard a pro bowl. He rushed for over 1,000 yards again the following season and then 900 in his third season with Chicago. The emergence of Tarik Cohen started to lessen Howard’s role with Chicago and they eventually traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears then drafted David Montgomery in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft.
Montgomery rushed for nearly 900 yards in his first season with Chicago despite early struggles. Now, before the 2020 NFL season, Montgomery is dealing with a non-contact injury to his leg. This opens the door for Fournette to join the Bears. Fournette can easily fill the power running role of Montgomery and keep the receiving work open for Tarik Cohen. Fournette is also a much better receiver than Montgomery at this point in their careers. The Bears offense struggled in 2019 and they need a spark from someone to get back on track. Fournette would be perfect as he will be playing for a potential big-money contract in the upcoming off-season.
The Rams have recently moved on from current Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley. They selected Cam Akers in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft to join former third-round pick Darrell Henderson as potential replacements for Gurley. However, now the Rams have a chance to add an established every-down back with a similar play style to Gurley. The Rams have never been shy about adding talent to their roster. They also need everything they can get in a stacked NFC West division.
Akers and Henderson are still young backs with room to develop. Fournette could be a nice filler for the 2020 NFL season while they continue to learn the offense and build up their experience on the field. Having Fournette in the backfield would allow the Rams to take the pressure off Jared Goff as he looks to rebound from a lackluster 2019 season. Together, Fournette and Goff could have a resurgence for themselves and the Rams’ offense in 2020.
The Patriots are always re-shaping their roster to stay ahead of the rest of the NFL. New England has always been regarded as a carousel for running backs under Bill Belichick. They currently have James White, Sony Michel, and sophomore back Damien Harris on the roster, but each serves a specific role. Also, each has had an injury issue this off-season. Fournette would be an immediate upgrade to Michel who serves their power running role but has dealt with injury multiple times in his short NFL career.
Further, New England will often let go of players and Fournette would be a perfect player to add for a season then let leave in free agency to open money for Belichick’s next move. This also depends on if New England fields a competitive roster for 2020 or if they focus themselves on the 2021 season and beyond following several of their starters opting out of the 2020 NFL season. If the Patriots want to stay competitive in 2020, Fournette would be an excellent addition for them. New England would be a great place for Fournette too as he needs a coach like Belichick to help straighten him out as he enters the prime of his career.
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