JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Leonard Fournette’s release on Monday morning was stunning across the league.
The Jaguars had made it no secret that they planned to part ways with the former first-round draft pick, but the timing was thought to be next year since the team didn’t pick up his fifth-year option.
But the end came much earlier than expected. Fournette’s tenure lasted three seasons with the Jaguars.
Former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew asked the question of the day — “Can anyone tell me what is going on in Duval? How do you draft a player top 5 and cut him 3 years later?”
Can anyone tell me what is going on in Duval? How do you draft a player top 5 and cut him 3 years later? How? How do you say his skill set doesn’t match your scheme when he is your best player at your position? What philosophy in football is successful without good players?— Maurice Jones-Drew (@MJD) August 31, 2020
According to ESPN, only two players drafted in the top five since 2016 are no longer with the franchise that selected them — Jalen Ramsey and Fournette. The Jaguars dealt Ramsey to the Rams last year after he complained publicly about wanting a trade due to disrespect, and then essentially faked a back injury.
The biggest issue stemming from the Fournette release is that the Jaguars received nothing in return for him. That’s an unfathomable return on investment for a player who was drafted in front of others like Christian McCaffrey, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. According to coach Doug Marrone, the Jaguars did their best to deal Fournette, but couldn’t even get a Day 3 draft pick in return.
How u gon release leonardfournette !!!’ Not trade him but RELEASE HIM. and I hear you’re trying to trade @lilduval for some Now Laters! The Hood know what I’m talking about! #Truth barstoolsports #BarstoolPrime Im… https://t.co/KNU0ttARS5— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) August 31, 2020
The Jaguars running back room is lean on experience now. Four backs on the team are either rookies or second-year players. Chris Thompson, who signed as a free agent during the offseason, is the team’s most experienced at the position.