What will the Jacksonville Jaguars do regarding the future of their star running back Leonard Fournette this offseason?
What will this team do with running back Leonard Fournette? Will Jacksonville pick up his fifth-year option, work out a new deal on a long-term contract, or let the running back walk in free agency after the 2020 season.
Fournette had his best season as a pro in 2019, rushing for 1152 yards and scoring three touchdowns while catching a team-high 76 passes. It was the first season that he was completely healthy until the final game of the year where he was absent due to a case of the flu.
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Fournette figures to be a huge part of Jacksonville’s offense this coming season, with new coordinator Jay Gruden, bringing his west coast style to DUUUVAL.
Right now, as Caldwell explained, it is a topic that will be discussed at a later date.
"“Our reason right now is we have free agency, then we have the draft, then we have the future and fifth-year option – and any extensions and stuff like that,” Caldwell said. “One step at a time for us right now – and that’s free agency.”"
That probably is not the endorsement Fournette wants to hear given his impact on the team last season and the fact the team did announce on the eve of the NFL Draft last season it was going to pick up the fifth-year option for cornerback Jalen Ramsey that would keep him on the roster through this season.
We all know how that played out.
Fournette went from a solid rookie season where he topped 1,000 yards and scored 10 touchdowns to a disastrous sophomore season where he had a contentious relationship with management during the year that spilled out into the media. His third season was one of redemption where he became a leader on and off the field. And with that came more support in his favor from the team’s fan base.
This season, the final one of a rookie deal that will have paid him over $27M over four years with a base of $4.167M in 2020, it is still unknown if he is part of the team’s plans in 2021.
Should Fournette have a better season in 2020 than 2019, it might force the Jaguars hand to make a decision on an extension rather than just picking up his fifth-year option. The team’s running back room is crowded, but no other running back stands out as a potential replacement at this time.
Jacksonville drafted Ryquell Armstead in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Temple last season. He is currently the team’s backup behind Fournette.