Leonard Fournette, the former fourth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, officially cleared waivers on Tuesday after being released by the Jaguars. Fournette becomes another former member of the 2017 team that made it to the AFC Championship Game but fell short to the New England Patriots.
Now, it seems, the same team that stopped the “budding dynasty” in Jacksonville may very well end up Fournette’s new home.
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According to several outlets, the Patriots have been rumored to be one of the team’s interested in the former LSU product. In fact, some oddsmakers are listing them as co-favorites to sign the running back. And, in one case, one account is reporting that the Patriots are in discussions with Fournette.
Patriots are currently in discussions with Leonard Fournette after clearing waivers early today.
Bears and Bucs still lurking but Belichick is getting first crack.
— IB 🔌 THE GAMBLER (@incarceratedbob) September 2, 2020
In many ways, this has not been a normal offseason for the Patriots. Of course, they are going through what every team is when it comes to “life during the Pandemic” but in addition to that, they have seen Tom Brady bolt to Tampa Bay and several of their key defensive players opt-out of the NFL season. That has not stopped the team from making headlines as they signed Cam Newton, who, presumably, has a stranglehold on the starting quarterback job.
Could Fournette be next?
One of the factors that led to Fournette’s released from the Jaguars, among many other things, was his public clamoring for the team to sign now-Patriots quarterback, Cam Newton, as opposed to Gardiner Minshew.
In his rookie season, Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards and scored nine touchdowns in just 13 games. He played in just eight games in 2018 but he rebounded in 2019 with career-high 1,132 yards on 265 carries. In addition, he added 76 receptions for 522 yards in just 15 games.
— Full Press Patriots (@FPC_Patriots) September 2, 2020
The versatile skillset is something the Patriots covet. Recently signed back, Lamar Miller, joined the team last week on the practice field. A group that already includes James White, Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, and Sony Michel. Michel, another first-round pick, has been hot and cold since he was drafted in both his ability on the field and his ability to stay healthy. As mentioned before, Fournette suited up for 15 games last year and had over 300 touches for a bad Jaguars team.
When the Patriots kick off the season in just over a week, they will already look drastically different than the year before. Adding Fournette seems right on par for this offseason and could pay dividends in the long run as this team tries to remain contenders in the post-Brady era.