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Former Jaguars RB Fournette clears waivers, now a free agent

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Leonard Fournette is now a free agent.

One day after the Jaguars released their former first-round draft pick, the running back cleared the waiver wire on Tuesday afternoon and is now able to sign with any team, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. He also reported that Fournette has filed a grievance against the Jaguars for voiding the guarantees in his contract.

Since none of the NFL’s 31 teams put in a waiver claim on Fournette, 25, it means that the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft is now able to sign with any team. Fournette rushed for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career.

The Jaguars voided those guarantees during a turbulent 2018 season that saw Fournette suspended for running on the field to join a fight in a game against Buffalo and get publicly skewered by former exec Tom Coughlin for his demeanor in the regular season finale.

The grievance is $4.167 million. Jacksonville wouldn’t have to pay that if that is upheld, but would have to pay it should Fournette win that.

Fournette’s stunning release a day earlier caught the league — and the area — by surprise. News4Jax sports analyst Mark Brunell said that he was shocked by the decision.

It was already known that Fournette was playing his final season in town after the team didn’t pick up his fifth-year option, but the timing of his release was out of the blue. It came less than two weeks before the season opener against the Colts.

With Fournette’s release, Ryquell Armstead, Nathan Cottrell, Devine Ozigbo, James Robinson and Chris Thompson are the running backs on the Jaguars roster. Robinson and Armstead are second-year players. Cottrell and Robinson are rookies. Thompson is in his seventh year.

Jaguars running backs coach Terry Robiskie said on Tuesday that those players benefited from having Fournette in the mix.

“I think it was the same phenomenal blessing to have Leonard on the practice field and have a bunch of young guys watching him out there on the field and showing us the way, showing us how we want to hit this one or how we want to run that one or whatever the situation was,” he said. “It was just a blessing to have him.”


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.