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Report: Jaguars decline team option on star RB Leonard Fournette

Matt Johnson
Leonard Fournette
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars held tremendous hope when they drafted Leonard Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Just three years later, the organization is ready to move on from their star running back as quickly as possible.

Amid rampant trade speculation surrounding Fournette, the Jacksonville Jaguars declined his team option on Friday for the 2021 season.

Jaguars ready to move on from Leonard Fournette

The Jaguars tried desperately to trade Fournette during the 2020 NFL Draft without any luck. Few teams even showed a hint of interest in the former top-five pick.

After spending a top pick on Fournette just a few years prior, Jacksonville called teams around the league, pushing their first-round bust in every trade package possible. Ultimately, organizations recognize the same issues the Jaguars have with Fournette.

Leonard Fournette’s off-field and on-field issues

The 25-year-old caused friction in the locker room this offseason by suggesting the team sign Cam Newton. Earlier in his career, Fournette nearly fought an opponent in the tunnel and the team has grown tired of his poor work ethic.

Fournette has also struggled to be reliable in Jacksonville’s offense. He averaged just four years per carry in his first three NFL seasons and accounted for only 17 rushing touchdowns over that span despite his massive size.

While he delivered his best season in 2019 catching the football out of the backfield, he still needed 100 targets to finish the year with 522 receiving yards.

Given the concerns over his work habits and a lack of production compared to his reputation, the Jaguars will ultimately have to settle for a Day 3 pick in return for him. Of course, that will only happen when another NFL team actually shows interest in signing him.

Now set to hit free agency after the season, Fournette will need to prove himself in 2020 to land another big contract.