The Philadelphia Eagles need to kick the tires on Leonard Fournette

(Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles need to take a look at Leonard Fournette.

On Monday, the Jacksonville Jaguars finally decided to move on from Leonard Fournette, the former fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

This move was as questionable as it was surprising, especially given he was on the last year of his rookie deal with only a $4.167 million base salary remaining. Still, with Fournette gone, it appears the Jaguars have completely shifted gears into rebuild mode, as they have also cleared house this offseason by trading away Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Nick Foles.

But here’s the thing, Fournette isn’t some washed, over-the-hill rusher. Far from it, in fact.

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You see, Fournette is actually coming off of the best statistical season of his career, posting 1,152 rushing yards, 522 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns while hoisting 4.3 yards-per-carry. Fournette also ranks eighth in rushing yards after contact (1,862) since entering the league in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. So, despite finally putting it all together as a third-year pro, why weren’t the Jaguars able to recoup any value in return for Fournette?

Well, according to head coach Doug Marrone via an Adam Schefter tweet, the Jaguars “couldn’t get anything, a fifth, a sixth, anything. We couldn’t get anything” for Fournette. It’s absolutely astonishing that no team in the NFL was willing to offer a late-round pick for a 1,000 yard running back with only one year and $4.167 million left on his contract, but it’s true, and the trend continued on Tuesday, when no team claimed Fournette off waivers, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Due to the lack of interest around the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles need to step in and gauge Fournette’s interest in a potential deal.

Yes, I know the team already has Miles Sanders, and he looks primed to be their feature back this season, but Fournette could add some much-needed insurance and power to the backfield. Still not convinced? Let me put it to you another way: If Sanders goes down, is anyone really comfortable with Boston Scott taking on a lead back role?

Regardless of Sanders’ health, Fournette would bring a similar punch to the backfield of LeGarrette Blount in 2017 and Jordan Howard in 2019. While Sanders is elusive and versatile out of the backfield catching passes, Fournette is your prototypical, old school power back who just so happens to possess the break-away speed needed to turn a four-yard run into a 90-yard touchdown. While Fournette is not a necessity, he would make the Eagles backfield all the more lethal.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why would the Eagles sign Fournette for $4 million or more when they wouldn’t pay Devonta Freeman that amount?”. That’s the thing, they wouldn’t. Between Fournette’s free agency status and his reported grievance against the Jaguars for the remaining value of his $4.167 million base salary, the Eagles may not have to pay all that much for his services. Not to mention he is clearly a better fit than Freeman.

The only way Fournette ends up in Philly is if he’s willing to sign a one-year, prove-it deal as a complementary piece to Sanders. While this role could be expansive, it likely not what Fournette is looking for, but then again, at this point in the offseason, he likely won’t find the deal he’s looking for anywhere. With most teams more or less set going into the regular season, Fournette would be smart to join a contender and show that he has great character by seamlessly sliding into his secondary role.

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The only cause for concern is that the Eagles may need to look for some help for their offensive line now that Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks both went down for the season. Obviously, the team should prioritize that position with their current cap situation, but what better cure for a lack of exterior strength on the offensive line than a power back who gains four yards-per-carry going up the middle? Simply put, the Philadelphia Eagles need to give Leonard Fournette’s agent a call given their great track record with power backs on short deals.