Star running back Leonard Fournette has seen his bumpy tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars come to an end after only three seasons. Fournette has an opportunity to get his career back on track with his next NFL home. All that could open the door to one team being the ideal spot for him to bounce back in the 2020 season.
Jaguars part ways with Leonard Fournette
Fournette’s standing with the franchise has soured over the last several months after another rough year. He experienced ongoing struggles that began to show in 2018, which was also his least productive year. He dealt with injuries, a suspension, and moved to the bench during crunch time in games.
These issues only further piled on after the team voided the remaining guarantees on his rookie deal following his one-game suspension for fighting Buffalo Bills linebacker Shaq Lawson. Tom Coughlin heavily criticized him for being “disrespectful” and “selfish” as he sat on the bench during the 2018 season finale.
There were plenty of internal issues that flared up that contributed to the team moving on from the Pro Bowler. He is coming off a career-high 1,152 rushing yards and 76 catches for 522 receiving yards, but that didn’t outweigh the problems the team had with him.
Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone also admitted that the team had much difficulty in trying to trade Fournette before cutting him. All that has opened the door for him to find his next landing spot.
Leonard Fournette could join the Bears
Leonard Fournette may not be the easiest player to manage, but he possesses the talent to be a high-impact factor.
That alone should present him an opportunity to secure a new NFL home where he can repair his image and significantly contribute. That opens the door for the Chicago Bears to secure his services for at least the 2020 season. The Bears have lacked anywhere near a workhorse running back following Jordan Howard’s departure.
Since then, the team has moved toward split-carry duties with David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen. Montgomery is currently dealing with a leg injury that could sideline him for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, there isn’t strong confidence in their quarterback situation with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. Fournette’s addition would provide them the power running game to anchor their offense and pressure off Trubisky or Foles.
What could also factor into the decision is Matt Nagy’s job status as the Bears are coming off missing the playoffs after finishing with an 8-8 record. There may be pressure from Nagy to finally get some essence of offensive stability to push the team forward in 2020.
Leonard Fournette’s chance to get his career on track
Beyond finding his next landing spot, Leonard Fournette has a chance to get his career back on track.
The 25-year-old is in the prime of his career, allowing him to become a foundational piece for another franchise. When healthy, he has proven to be one of the league’s most productive running backs. It’s now on him to change the narrative that he’s a negative locker room presence. If he hopes to earn his first lucrative deal after his rookie contract, that will play a significant factor in the equation.
In other words, Fournette’s next NFL home will shape the rest of his career.