Last week, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette made some news when he said publicly that he thought the team should sign quarterback Cam Newton to provide competition for young signal-caller Gardner Minshew II. Whether it's coincidence or not, there are now reports the Jaguars want to trade Fournette, the No. 4 overall pick from the 2017 draft.
If a deal is going to happen, it's almost surely going to be ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft as the Jags would want a pick for Fournette. There's also a May 4 deadline hanging over the team as Jacksonville has until then to exercise a fifth-year option on Fournette, who is scheduled to make $4.16 million in base salary in 2020.
Fournette's work ethic has been questioned in the past, but he's a fine player. Last season, he finished with a career-high 1,152 yards rushing and with 76 catches for 522 yards. He became only the 10th tailback all-time to produce at least 1,100 rushing yards and 75 receptions within his first three seasons in the league. Fournette did total just three touchdowns overall, though.
Here's a breakdown of teams where Fournette might be dealt – he probably wouldn't fetch more than a third-round pick in return simply as running backs are considered largely a dime a dozen in the NFL these days (see Todd Gurley and David Johnson) – via SportsLine oddsmakers:
Buffalo Bills (+300): This is a cliché, but the Bills are ready to win now. The AFC East is there for the taking for the first time since the turn of the century with Tom Brady leaving New England for Tampa Bay. Buffalo has a good young running back in Devin Singletary, but Coach Sean McDermott is old school in that he likes to pound the rock. GM Brandon Beane already has shown this offseason he's not afraid to swing for the fences by trading multiple draft picks to Minnesota for wideout Stefon Diggs. Beane also liked Fournette coming out of LSU when Beane was the assistant GM with the Carolina Panthers.
Miami Dolphins (+400): Miami signed Eagles free-agent running back Jordan Howard in free agency, but he's not a true No. 1 back. The team also has more draft capital than any team in 2020 with 14 total picks, including eight picks in rounds 4-7 on Saturday. The Fins have plenty of cap space as well. Might be a bit awkward with new Dolphins linebacker Shaq Lawson considering Fournette those two brawled during a game while Lawson was with Buffalo, but, hey, these guys are professionals.
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Detroit Lions (+600): SportsLine wrote last week the Lions had virtually met with a handful of running backs ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft with the possibility of taking one with the No. 35 overall pick. Kerryon Johnson has talent but hasn't proven able to stay on the field. If you can get Fournette for, say, a third-round pick and can fill another need with that 35th selection, don't you do it? Coach Matt Patricia learned under Bill Belichick and prefers to rotate his running backs during games.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+750): Yes, the Steelers have James Conner. But he missed three games in 2018 due to injury and six last year. Fournette has yet to play all 16 games, either, so that might scare off what has generally been a conservative franchise. Fournette has torched Pittsburgh in three career meetings, averaging 128 rushing yards and scoring a total of six touchdowns. And, yes, the Steelers visit Jacksonville in 2020.
Indianapolis Colts (+900): Indy is another team in win-now mode after the free-agent signing of 38-year-old quarterback Philip Rivers. The Colts have Marlon Mack, but he has yet to play more than 14 games in a season due to injuries. Be quite a 1-2 punch, and adding Fournette and would make life much easier on Rivers.
Kansas City Chiefs (+1000): Many mock drafts have the Chiefs taking a running back with the final pick of the first round Thursday in the draft. It almost wouldn't be fair adding Fournette to Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Kansas City's leading rusher last season was Damien Williams with just 498 yards. The team also said goodbye to LeSean McCoy this offseason. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggested that the Chiefs should trade for Fournette.
Tampa Bay Bucs (+1200): The Bucs would make all the sense in the world as their No. 1 running back right now has been underachieving Ronald Jones and obviously Fournette would help take a bit of the burden off Tom Brady. For what it's worth, ESPN's Josina Anderson is reporting the Bucs aren't expected to be interested, though. Coach Bruce Arians has said the team is looking for a tailback who is more of a receiver out of the backfield. While Fournette did have those 76 catches last year, he averaged only 6.9 yards per reception and really isn't that guy.
Los Angeles Rams (+1500): The Rams released Gurley a few weeks ago. Are they ready to roll with Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown as their top running backs? L.A. seems to like former Jaguars with the additions of guys like Blake Bortles, Dante Fowler Jr. and Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey and Fournette are good friends. This might make sense if the Rams weren't already over the salary cap – they are the only team in the NFL in that situation.