Leonard Fournette meets with Jaguars front office
By David Levin
Per several sources, running back Leonard Fournette met with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday afternoon to discuss his place with the organization.
Running back Leonard Fournette met with the Jacksonville Jaguars front office on Thursday to clear the air about this past season and his standing with the organization. The former fourth pick in the NFL Draft in 2017 misses a total of eight games this season and had less than a productive season for the franchise.
It’s a meeting that had to happen.
Fournette’s tenure with the Jaguars has been in doubt since the final game of the season, a 20-3 loss to Houston where television cameras focused on him and fellow running back T.J. Yeldon sitting on the bench looking disinterested in what their teammates were doing on the field.
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The image caught the attention of Tom Coughlin, the executive vice-president of football operations for the team, who used social media to call out both players for their actions.
Since then, local and national media have speculated on Fournette’s future, especially after it was announced the guarantees in his rookie contract were voided. Head coach Doug Marrone told the media on Dec. 31 the contract was adjusted because of the incident in Buffalo that saw Fournette get into a fight with Shaq Lawson.
The NFL suspended Fournette one game for his actions
"“There are questions about Fournette’s maturity, commitment to football, conditioning, on-field behavior and production after the 2018 season,” writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “There was some speculation that the team would be willing to trade — or cut — him in the offseason.”"
After a rookie campaign where he rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, Fournette gained 439 yards and scored five touchdowns over eight games.
The Jaguars have a crowded backfield with the addition of Thomas Rawls, who was signed on Wednesday to a future’s contract. It is believed both Yeldon and Corey Grant will become free agents and sign elsewhere.
There is still a question of whether the team will keep Carlos Hyde, who they acquired from Cleveland prior to the trade deadline for a 2019 5th round draft pick.
The incident during the Texans game may have been the straw that led to this meeting to find a resolution.
"“That capped an awful year for Fournette. One season after missing two games with injuries, Fournette missed six full games and half of two others with a right hamstring injury in the first eight weeks and there was mounting frustration inside the organization about the length of his absence,” DiRocco added.“The Jaguars built the offense around a power-run game and the offense had a hard time functioning consistently without Fournette on the field.”"
The Jaguars still have a vacant offensive coordinator position to fill and have to solve their issues at quarterback. It is believed the team will remain a run-first offense. Having Fournette on the field gives this team a true identity.
Per overthecap.com, Fournette signed a 4-year contract worth $27,150,882 with the Jaguars on May 17, 2017. He received a guarantee worth $27,150,882 including a $17,886,096 signing bonus until the team voided those guarantees,