The Jacksonville Jaguars are not picking up the fifth-year option for running back Leonard Fournette, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The move is hardly a surprise given the purge that has gone on with the Jaguars roster, as the club has already traded way corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, quarterback Nick Foles and pass rusher Calais Campbell over the past calendar year. This decision by the franchise to not pick up the fifth-year option may serve as the latest sign that the former first-round back out of LSU is not long for Jacksonville.
By declining his fifth-year option, the 25-year-old back will be in the final year of his rookie contract in 2020, while the Jaguars avoid adding an additional year to Fournette's contract that would have paid him $8.48 million, which would have become fully guaranteed if he suffered a significant injury.
Fournette has already been the subject of trade talks, as the club has reportedly tried to shop him around the league. For next season, the back has a base salary of $4.167 million and a cap hit of around $8.6 million. In the wake of these trade rumors, Fournette did put out a social media post saying, "I don't know what the future holds, but I promise that every day I'm gonna bust my ass. I know it's a business, and I'll be at my best for next season."
After being selected No. 4 overall in the 2017 draft, Fournette enjoyed a strong rookie campaign where he rushed for over 1,000 yards, had 10 total touchdowns and caught 36 passes. 2018 served as a fall from grace for Fournette as a hamstring injury completely derailed his sophomore year in the league, which he finished with just 439 rushing yards.
Last season served as a solid bounce-back for Fournette as he played in 15 games for the Jags and finished with a career-best 1,152 rushing yards on 4.3 yards a carry and three rushing scores. He also led the team in receptions (76) and added an additional 522 receiving yards.