After there were no serious trade offers for running back Leonard Fournette, the Jacksonville Jaguars will move forward with him as their starter in 2020.
David Caldwell, the team’s general manager, discussed the situation on the PFT PM podcast on Monday that Fournette is part of the team’s plans for the upcoming season. The former first-round draft pick in 2017 is playing this season under the final year of his rookie deal. The Jaguars have not picked up his fifth-year option and if a deal cannot be worked out between the team and the player, Fournette could test free agency.
Last season, Fournette had the best season of his career on a Jacksonville Jaguars uniform, rushing for 1,152 yards and caught 76 passes. He was the workhorse in the team’s offense that scored just 18.8 points per game in 2019.
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He had 1.674 yards from scrimmage last season and became a true dual threat as a runner and receiver, something he had not been the previous two seasons.
"“There were just some minor discussions with that but nothing substantial throughout the draft or prior to the draft,” Caldwell said on the podcast, via ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco. “I think the mindset is that we’re going to go forward with Leonard on the team. I had a good talk with him on Friday. I know Coach [Doug] Marrone has had some discussion with him.“He seems to be in great shape and mental frame of mind, and we feel that he’ll have a great season this year.”"
The Jaguars did not add a running back in the NFL Draft but did sign veteran Chris Thompson in free agency last week to help lighten the workload for Leonard Fournette. He will make a base salary of $4.167M this season and a signing bonus is $4.471M. He is currently among the highest-paid players on the Jaguars roster.
Prior to the NFL Draft at the Scouting Combine, Caldwell was asked about Fournette’s fifth-year option. He declined to discuss it other than it would be something the front office would look into once the NFL Draft was over.
The franchise made it known following the draft process they were not picking up the option, and rumors circulated the team was looking to trade him days before the first night of the selection process.
In addition to Thompson, the Jaguars also have second-year running back Ryquell Armstead on the roster, who served as Fournette’s back up last season.