New England Patriots unlikely to sign Leonard Fournette?

NFL running back Leonard Fournette at George Floyd protest
Bob Self/Florida Times-Union-USA

When the Jacksonville Jaguars released Leonard Fournette, the New England Patriots immediately jumped out as one of his top landing spots. However, it looks like the Patriots won’t be the team signing Fournette.

New England took one chance on a released NFL star this offseason by signing Cam Newton, who is expected to begin the season as the starter. While Fournette could be willing to take a discount to land with the right team, that may not be the Patriots.

Latest news on Leonard Fournette

Fournette, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, cleared waivers on Tuesday. With the star running back now free to sign with any team, the 25-year-old has a great opportunity to pick the perfect landing spot to revitalize his career.

Expected to land a one-year contract, Fournette wants to prove himself by landing in an offense that fits his physical running style with a scheme emphasizing the rushing attack. The Patriots seemed like a great fit, especially given his ties to Newton and the chance to create a dynamic backfield with the duo and James White.

According to NFL Network’s Michael Giardi, there is belief within the Patriots’ organization that the team won’t be in the running for Fournette.

It’s surprising given it seemed like the perfect opportunity for both sides. New England lacks a power runner who head coach Bill Belichick can depend on, but Fournette would fill that void with ease. Additionally, it would give the former top-five pick a chance to prove he can still be a great player and won’t cause issues inside the locker room.

New England would still be wise to make a run at him, with Belichick and Newton making a case to sign with the team. However, there will likely be plenty of competition to sign the 6-foot, 228-pound running back.

Fournette hasn’t lived up to his draft status, but he is still a good starting running back. He averaged a career-high 4.3 yards per carry during the 2019 season, racking up 1,152 rushing yards despite playing on a bad team. He also contributed on passing downs, hauling in 76 receptions for 522 yards.

The 2020 NFL season kicks off in less than two weeks and Fournette will need to undergo COVID-19 testing protocols before even practicing with his new club. Time is of the essence if he wants to be on the field in Week 1, so it shouldn’t be long before he signs.