The Jacksonville Jaguars have spent the past couple of seasons unloading some of their best players, and their former No. 4 overall pick could be next. On Saturday night, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Jaguars have had trade discussions regarding running back Leonard Fournette, who is due $4.16 million in base salary next season.
After a terrible 2018 campaign, Fournette appeared to bounce back in 2019. In 15 games, he rushed for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns and also recorded a career-high 76 receptions for 522 yards. This development doesn't come as much of a surprise, however, as the Jaguars have hosted a bit of a fire sale recently.
The Jaguars traded Jalen Ramsey, Nick Foles and Calais Campbell away within the last year -- and Yannick Ngakoue is praying that he will be next. Jacksonville's defense fell from No. 6 to No. 29 DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) just in the last year, and the offense wasn't much better. While Gardner Minshew does appear to have potential, the Jaguars averaged just 341.8 yards per game, which was tied for No. 19 in the NFL.
With Fournette now reportedly on the trade block, which teams would be interested in taking on his salary? Where is he most likely to find success? Let's take a look at five potential landing spots for the former first-round pick.
The Dolphins are turning over a new leaf in 2020. After an abysmal 2019 campaign where they finished 5-11, they made some big free agent additions such as Shaq Lawson, Byron Jones and Kyle Van Noy. As you can see, much of Miami's work so far has gone to the defensive side of the ball, so they will likely focus on offense in the coming week with the 2020 NFL Draft on deck.
While the Dolphins signed running back Jordan Howard earlier this offseason, he's not someone Miami is probably interested in making their primary workhorse. Fournette could be a great piece to pair with someone like Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert in the backfield, plus the Dolphins would still have plenty of cap space and would feel less pressure to take a running back with one of their Day 2 picks.
The Bills actually had the No. 8 rushing offense in the league last year, but they could stand to add another offensive weapon. Like the Dolphins, the Bills have been active during the offseason, most notably trading for former Minnesota Vikings star wideout Stefon Diggs. The Bills know Josh Allen is the future under center, and they want to surround him with talent that will help him reach his full potential. Buffalo already has Devin Singletary, T.J. Yeldon, Taiwan Jones and Christian Wade in the backfield, but adding a big back like Fournette could help this offense win the AFC East. I admit that it could be hard for Fournette to put the behind him, but maybe he has a short memory.
Whenever a top running back has hit the open market or made their trade request public, the Lions have seemingly always been a prospective landing spot. Kerryon Johnson is a great running back and Bo Scarbrough played well in 2019, but Fournette clearly would be a step up for this offense. That one-two punch of Johnson and Fournette could get this team back into the win column and prolong Matthew Stafford's career. The Lions have one of the best passing offenses in the league with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay -- imagine what they will be able to do if they get the run game back on track. According to Over The Cap, the Lions currently have the second-most cap space in the NFL, so they could take on Fournette's contract without issue if they wanted to.
The Colts could be a very intriguing landing spot for Fournette. He would get to play his former team twice a year with an established veteran new quarterback in Philip Rivers and would likely make Indy the favorite to win the AFC South. This team would have found success with Jacoby Brissett in 2019, but the Colts dealt with injuries at virtually every position. Rivers and Co. will surprise some people in 2020 if they can remain healthy.
As far as the running back position, Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines are decent options, but they could stand to upgrade. A great stable of running backs could help ease Rivers into the offense and set the next signal-caller up for success once Rivers calls it quits. Remember, the San Francisco 49ers didn't look like a team that needed to upgrade at the running back position with Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, but they went out and signed former Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman last season. That great stable of running backs helped get the 49ers to the Super Bowl and take the pressure off Jimmy Garoppolo. The Colts could try to look to do the same thing here with a motivated young talent that would be excited to stay within the division.
Who wouldn't want to go play with Tom Brady and the new-look Buccaneers in 2020? Brady likes to throw to his backs, and Fournette proved last season that he could be a dual-threat weapon. The Buccaneers retained Ronald Jones but let Peyton Barber go in free agency. I would imagine that Tampa is not done adding to their roster -- especially when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. The Buccaneers aren't in as good of a financial situation as the other teams on this list, but they could swing for Fournette if they wanted to. If you went out and got the greatest quarterback of all time, aren't you trying to win the Super Bowl? Grab a young player who has potential to help establish the run game.