Former Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is now officially a free agent, having cleared waivers today.
Former Jaguars’ RB Leonard Fournette officially went unclaimed on waivers today, per source.
Fournette — who has rushed for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns since being drafted fourth overall in 2017 — is now a free agent.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 1, 2020
The 25-year-old former 4th overall pick is now officially a free agent, able to sign with any team … for example, a team that has needed to add another capable running back to pair with David Montgomery, who is getting over a groin injury. Yes, we think there’s a potential fit there with the Bears.
The question is whether Fournette will see the fit and the right opportunity:
On Leonard Fournette after he went unclaimed on waivers: I'm told wherever he lands won't be a money decision. 2020 is going to be about scheme fit and the coaching staff that leans into a power running game. Opportunity will be important, but skill fit will be absolutely vital.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 1, 2020
We know that Matt Nagy’s offense tends to be light on the traditional power running game, but there is some familiarity there on the coaching staff at least (John DeFilippo was Fournette’s offensive coordinator last year in Jacksonville). Also, Doug Pederson found ways to use LeGarrette Blount very successfully in a similar offense back in 2017, so it’s not like there is a total absence in the offense for power backs. Plus, even as Fournette apparently wants to be in a power running game, it’s not like he doesn’t have the chops to contribute coming out of the back field.
Also, as Luis pointed out, it’s not like Fournette is definitely going to find the perfect fit out there, willing to give him a feature back gig:
Fournette broke onto the scene as a rookie in 2017, gaining 1,040 yards and scoring one touchdowns. And after an injury-shortened 2018 that saw him average just 3.3 yards per attempt in eight games, Fournette bounced back in a big way. The 2019 season saw Fournette set career highs in rushing yards (1,152) and yards per attempt (4.3). However, Pro Football Focus’ advanced data didn’t necessarily vibe with the solid traditional numbers Fournette posted. PFF ranked Fournette 47th among the 58 backs who played a qualifying number of snaps. Fournette’s 64.0 grade was the lowest in his three-year career. It landed him nine spots behind Bears starter David Montgomery, but five spots ahead of Tarik Cohen. And while Fournette’s running grade was adequate enough, his 37.3 pass-blocking grade was the sixth worst in all of football. Considering the passing game’s importance, this feels like a red flag.
I still think this is worth keeping an eye on now that Fournette is officially a free agent. The Bears should make a phone call. (You know, unless they land Alvin Kamara first …. )