The Jaguars have waived star running back Leonard Fournette and with his level of talent, it’s hard not to wonder where he will end up.
The former LSU running back has only been in the league for 3 years but has had a monumental impact league-wide. In his first three seasons, Fournette has rushed for over 2500 yards and has an astounding, 17 touchdowns. With that in mind, Fournette’s tenure on the open market will likely be very short-lived. There are many teams that would suit Fournette very well but only a few teams can truly afford him. I’ve narrowed Fournette’s options down to his five most likely landing spots. I believe that if you take into account the salary that Fournette will demand as well as how his talent will be put to use, you will agree that the Kansas City Chiefs, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks, and the San Francisco 49ers are the most fitting teams for him.
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1. Kansas City Chiefs
To start things off the Kansas City Chiefs appear to be a great fit for Fournette. The former Super Bowl champs have the best offensive statistics in the league but could potentially struggle with their running game this upcoming season. Although the Chiefs did draft rookie running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, it may be hard for him to establish the run game in his first season. With that being said, Fournette would be a very dependable option, assuming that the Kansas City Chiefs are seeking a Super Bowl repeat. The only thing that could pose as an obstacle for signing Fournette is the fact that the Chiefs signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes to over a half a billion dollar deal in the offseason. If Fournette signs with the Chiefs, he will certainly have to take a pay cut or settle for only a 1-2 year contract.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Next in line, we have the Pittsburgh Steelers. As of now, the Steelers are depending on running back James Conner to have a strong season. Although Connor is an entire unit, his injury resistance is not the best. For that reason, Leonard Fournette would be a very good, low-risk option for the Steelers. After letting Le’Veon Bell go in the 2018 offseason, the Steelers opened up a lot of cap space which could allow them to offer Leonard Fournette a pretty big contract. All in all, it would not be surprising to see the Steelers bolster their playoff chances, by signing Leonard Fournette at some point over the next couple of days.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The third team that would be a good suitor for Leonard Fournette is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers added a ton of offensive talent over the offseason and it would not be surprising to see them add Leonard Fournette to start, over LeSean McCoy and Ronald Jones ll this season. The Buccaneers will obviously be relying mainly on their passing game this season after signing Tom Brady to a 2-year, 50 million-dollar contract. Adding Fournette to the team would likely change the entire game plan as Tampa Bay could then revise their game plan, making it more balanced between running and passing. The only thing in question is whether or not Fournette will be convinced by Tampa’s potential, enough so that he is willing to take an extreme pay cut to play for them. If Fournette signs with Tampa Bay, it is likely that they may become divisional favorites and have an even better shot at getting Tom Brady another Super Bowl win.
4. Seattle Seahawks
One of the final teams that would suit Leonard fournette very well is the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have lots of cap space to use and would definitely love to sign a great running back that could have a little bit more ball control than Chris Carson does. The Seahawks also have a good history with signing running backs as they took a chance with Marshawn Lynch which eventually turned out very well for them. Although young, Leonard Fournette is a similar running back to Marshawn Lynch in his style of play, which may attract the Seahawks to him even more. In conclusion, the Seahawks have less of a reason to sign him than other teams, but the fact that he is so similar to Marshawn Lynch is the reason the Seahawks are on this list.
5. San Francisco 49ers
The last team that Leonard Fournette would be a great addition to is the San Francisco 49ers. Leonard Fournette fits the scheme of the 49ers offense very well as he is a tough running back who is very physical and has good endurance. The 49ers have been a defensively dependent team over the past couple of seasons, meaning that they use their running game more often than their passing game. In addition to that, the 49ers traded their starting running back, Matt Breida to the Dolphins in the offseason, laying all their trust in Raheem Mostert to pick up the slack this season. With that noted, it would not be surprising at all to see the 49ers add Fournette to their team for the next few seasons.
Original image from Fox News, swap done by Sam Rector
With all things considered, Leonard Fournette is a fantastic running back that will likely succeed on whichever team he is signed to. Once again, the five teams that Leonard Fournette will most likely be traded to are the Kansas City Chiefs, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks, and the San Francisco 49ers. When factoring salary and current running backs into the picture, I believe it is most likely that Leonard Fournette will sign with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have more cap space than any other team and they depend on the running game more than any other team, leading me to believe that they are the perfect fit for star running back, Fournette. The only question that remains is, “Where will Leonard Fournette really sign?”. The answer is soon to come.