With most rookies wrapping up the formality of signing their rookie deal, the Jacksonville Jaguars can rest easy knowing Leonard Fournette is ready to go.
There was once a time in the recent history of the NFL when it was legitimate to be concerned about whether or not each team would be able to sign their first round pick in a timely manner. Luckily, the owners and players collectively bargained a deal that theoretically made it impossible for rookies and their agents to negotiate their way into comically overpriced deals.
Since then, it’s just a formality (outside of some exceptions) for rookies to sign their contracts before training camp.
Regardless, it was nice to see the Jaguars’ 4th overall pick ink his deal on Wednesday:
As they have done with all their picks, the Jaguars gave Fournette a fully guaranteed contract with no offset language. Last year, 4th overall pick Ezekiel Elliot signed a four-year, $24.9 million deal with a $16.3 million signing bonus, but the contract was not fully guaranteed.
Initial reports say Fournette’s deal comes out to $27.2 million in total value with a $17.9 million signing bonus. Spotrac has estimates of all the rookie deals up on their site.
As discussed above, it hasn’t been much of a worry in recent years whether or not rookies would be signed in time for camp. The Jaguars in particular have been extremely accommodating and have given their first round picks the max possible value for the draft slot.
The Jaguars need Fournette to play up to his value, and that doesn’t mean just his draft slot. With this particular deal, Fournette has the most guaranteed money of any running back in the NFL. Along with Chris Ivory, the Jaguars will have two running backs in the top 12 of cap hits next year. That means we should expect the run-pass balance to shift heavily in 2017.