Just three years after he got drafted fourth overall, Leonard Fournette got released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The former LSU star now needs a new NFL home, and he may just have a viable suitor for his services. In fact, Fournette could join forces with Patrick Mahomes. But will the Kansas City Chiefs pull the trigger on the talented running back?
The move would give Mahomes yet another weapon to help him secure his dynasty dream. And for Fournette, joining forces with the most talented quarterback in football could lead to a massive payday in 2021.
Leonard Fournette is free to sign with any NFL team
At LSU, Leonard Fournette looked like a man among boys. Despite facing stiff competition from SEC defenses, the New Orleans native dominated with a physical, old-school running style. He entered the 2017 NFL draft as one of the top available prospects.
Desperate to make the Blake Bortles experiment work, the Jaguars passed over both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in favor of Fournette. That decision proved to be an abject disaster.
Mahomes has already become the NFL’s biggest star. Watson has made two Pro Bowls and should sign a massive contract extension sooner than later.
On the other hand, Fournette never became the game-changing force Jacksonville needed. He did surpass 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie, but his second season included just 439 rushing yards in eight games. Last year, he did set a career-high with 1,674 yards from scrimmage.
However, his attitude issues and fit within the team led to his exit. After clearing waivers, the 25-year-old running back can sign with any team.
Fournette and Patrick Mahomes could join forces
Even though he did not live up to expectations in Jacksonville, Leonard Fournette showcased enough ability to earn another opportunity elsewhere. After all, he just ran for a career-high 1,152 yards for a team that started a sixth-round rookie at quarterback. At 6-feet, 228 pounds, he brings incredible size and power. He can also contribute in the passing game, as evidenced by his 76 catches in 2019.
From a pure talent perspective, Fournette easily ranks as one of the top free agents available. Given his draft pedigree and decent level of production, he seemingly should have no trouble finding a new NFL home.
According to national NFL reporter Matt Verderame, the Chiefs reportedly have “potential interest” in the former Jaguars running back after he did not get claimed on waivers. Verderame said that “the money would need to be right” in order for the Chiefs to get a deal done with Fournette.
Much of that has to do with a strong training camp performance by Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The team’s top draft pick ironically starred at LSU. Now, the rookie could find another former Tiger in the backfield if Kansas City brings in Fournette to join forces with Patrick Mahomes and an offense stacked with talented playmakers.
Should the Chiefs sign the former Jaguars running back?
Considering how much money they have invested in their offense this offseason, it seems like the Chiefs should be set on that side of the ball. However, with Damien Williams opting-out of the 2020 NFL season, Kansas City would be smart to add another running back.
Edwards-Helaire offers a much different skill set than Leonard Fournette. Tipping the scales at just 5-foot-7, 207 pounds, he does not boast the size or pure power that the former Jaguars running back brings to the table. However, Edwards-Helaire’s pass-catching chops and quickness make him a potential star in Andy Reid’s system.
Bringing in Fournette as the “thunder” to Edwards-Helaire’s “lightning” would solidify the Chiefs’ backfield. Patrick Mahomes would have yet another weapon to throw to, and Fournette could even take some pressure off the quarterback by giving the offense more balance with his ability to run between the tackles.
The potential union could also pay off big time for Fournette. A bounce-back campaign playing for the defending Super Bowl champions would position him for a massive payday in 2021. Plus, he would have an excellent shot at earning a Super Bowl ring—something that would never happen in Jacksonville.
Now we will see if Reid and Chiefs general manager Brett Veach pursue the talented running back. If the two sides can come to terms, Patrick Mahomes will inch one step closer to making his dynasty dream come true.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.