The Jacksonville Jaguars once again pull off a trade in mid-season by getting running back Carlos Hyde from the Cleveland Browns.
It was another one of those surprise moves that still has Jacksonville Jaguars fans talking. The trade for Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde sends a message to the NFL that this is a team that still believes in the run game. It may have also sent a message about what the future holds for Leonard Fournette this season.
I’m not one who reads tarot cards are looks at the tea leaves. I believe the game of football should be played like it is on playgrounds across the country. I also believe the Jacksonville Jaguars needed to do something to bolster its running game before they fell out of contention for a playoff berth.
The move on Friday to send a fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for Carlos Hyde was one that wasn’t expected, but it was much-needed and welcomed by the fan base here in North Florida. The team’s lack of run production combined with the unknown status of Leonard Fournette has created a bit of uneasiness in terms of where this team is headed this season.
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"“Hyde (6-feet-0, 229 pounds), a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, has rushed for 382 yards and five touchdowns on 114 carries this season for Cleveland – a 3.4-yards-per-carry average. He also has six receptions for 29 yards,” Jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser wrote on Friday."
It’s a deal that needed to get done. As Mike Silver wrote on his Twitter page, the Jaguars are the ones who initiated the trade, feeling they need to add more depth at the position. After balking at letting go one of their pass catchers, the deal was made for the draft pick. It’s a typical move by general manager Dave Caldwell, where the risk of a fifth-round pick wasn’t great and the reward could be a move from 18th in the league in rushing back into the top 10.
As of now, he would be the Jaguars leading rusher. Yeldon has done yeoman’s work in a starting role, but the running game is not the same without Fournette’s bruising style. With an offensive line that looks like a M.A.S.H unit, Hyde’s presence helps and takes some of the pressure off the former Alabama star.
The move, however, as Silver pointed out, may also have other undertones. The team could be worried or have grown weary of Fournette’s injury-prone body, as he also stated on his Twitter account.
"“Jags’ decision to trade for Carlos Hyde stemmed from mounting frustration inside the building–and particularly among coaches–about Fournette’s prolonged absence. Built the offense around him, hamstring issue continues to linger,” he wrote."
Now, the Jaguars have a prove workhorse to hand the ball off to as they prepare for Houston this weekend before a colossal game in London with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The move will also benefit the passing game as quarterback Blake Bortles has once again drawn scrutiny for being ineffective the past two weeks – both losses. The Jaguars have given up 70 points in their last two games.
Silver’s comments about the future of Fournette and the Jaguars organization were echoed by local sportswriter and columnist Gene Frenette of the Florida-Times Union. Is the second-year back the long-term solution for this franchise and will injuries continue to mount as he furthers his NFL career.
"“The Jaguars might well have made this move for two reasons: as a temporary insurance policy for 2018 and maybe as a long-term fix since impending free agent T.J. Yeldon likely won’t return next season,” Frenette writes. “It also brings into question whether the Jaguars believe Fournette, who will miss his eighth career start against Houston Sunday due to injury, is the long-term answer at the position they presumed he’d be by drafting him with the No. 4 overall pick in 2017.”"
While Fournette is a great option for the Jaguars when he is healthy and the line in front of him can open holes, there may also be a belief those two things aren’t synonymous this season. The offensive line was supposed to be a strength this season. It might be one of the biggest weaknesses along with the tight end position.