Trade for Carlos Hyde suggests pessimism over Leonard Fournette’s injury

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Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has missed the last two games, and counting. And the Jaguars may not be counting on Fournette as the season continues to unfold.

The decision to send a 2019 fifth-round pick to Cleveland for running back Carlos Hyde gives the Jags a player whom they undoubtedly intend to keep on the roster for the balance of the season. His $1.5 million salary is fully guaranteed ($970,588 of it remains unpaid), and the investment of the mid-round pick surely wasn’t made for a few-week rental.

The bigger question becomes whether Hyde will remain with the team beyond 2019. Given that they could have drafted a running back (and possibly a good one) in round five with the pick sent to Cleveland, the move to add Hyde could be an indication that the Jaguars are willing to let T.J. Yeldon, a second-round pick in 2015, walk away via free agency. Yeldon has averaged more than five yards per carry in each of the three starts he’s made for Fournette this year, but he gained only 52 yards on 18 carries in a Week Four win over the Jets, an average of 2.9 yards per attempt.

And if/when Yeldon leaves, the Jaguars may get credit toward a compensatory pick or two in 2020. (Or, if a more immediate return is possible, they could trade him at some point in the next 10 days.)

It’s also possible that, before trading for Hyde, the Jaguars tried to extend Yeldon’s contract, and that Yeldon simply wanted too much. And so the Jaguars instead have Hyde under contract for two more seasons at salaries of $3.25 million in 2019 and $4.5 million in 2020.

But here’s the key. The contract structure compels the Jaguars to make a quick decision on Hyde. His 2019 base salary becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year, and he earns a separate $1 million roster bonus that same day. To avoid another $4.25 million investment in Hyde, the Jaguars would need to cut him or trade him before those payments come due.

For now, though, it seems that the Jaguars plan to keep Hyde around for the balance of the season. Which gives him to make good on an eerily prescient vow made last December after the 49ers beat Jacksonville: “Next year, we’re going to win the Super Bowl.”

15 responses to “Trade for Carlos Hyde suggests pessimism over Leonard Fournette’s injury

  1. I can see two reasons for the Hyde trade.

    When Fournette first had his hamstring injury his head coach Doug Marrone was being interviewed and making light of the injury. Then a reporter told him that “Fournette said he heard a loud pop (which would likely be a muscle tear)” at the onset of the injury. Marrone said he was “unaware of that”. If that was the case Fournette should have probably been on the shelf for months. So no telling what the Jags decision to have him play a week or two later did to his recovery time.

    The other reason is just the obvious. The Jags are a committed running football team. Last year in the playoffs Fournette was injured (ankle) and missed time in two key playoff games including missing the second half of the AFC Championship game. So the Jags likely want another back who can help shoulder the load/insurance in case they run into that situation again. Plenty of committed running teams have had two quality backs over the years. Pittsburgh with Jerome Bettis and FWParker – Barry Foster and Bam Morris, Tampa with Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott, KC with Christian Okoye and Barry Word etc.

  2. Which gives him to make good on an eerily prescient vow made last December after the 49ers beat Jacksonville: “Next year, we’re going to win the Super Bowl.”

    Eerily prescient? When he said “we”, he was talking about the 49ers, off to a sterling 1-5 start this season.

  3. Yeldon is solid, but he’s a Leveon type back (minus the breakaway speed) while the Jags are built for a power game. Either way, Jags are trying to get it together before they blow a year with their ridiculously good D.

  4. Nobody should be very surprised, imo. Fournette was also very injury prone last season. He was on my FF roster, and I never knew whether he was out or not, 1/2 the time 😦 Just saying…

  5. They’re still going to need to get another RB next year. They are going to have to have two RBs they can count on since Fournette is never on the field. He’s good when he’s on the field but so far he’s been disappointing because of all the injuries. I have a feeling Fournette will have a short NFL career. Nobody’s going to be interested in a RB who’s always hurt.

  6. I get the feeling the org feels fournette won’t play through pain. Given where he was drafted I can see why that would piss them off

  7. pittsburghdamned says:
    October 20, 2018 at 11:30 am
    And how exactly does this fix having the worst QB in the AFC?
    —-

    Apparently a good running game and defense can overcome that to a degree…as evidenced by the two wins at Heinz Field last year. Pittsburgh damned indeed.

  8. I recall when Fornette first came into the NFL, he boasted about how easy he thought it was. I wonder what he thinks now?

  9. redlikethepig says:
    October 20, 2018 at 7:51 am
    How can a hamstring be this serious?
    —–
    Hamstring injuries to backs and receivers effectively puts them out of commission. If they can’t accelerate or decelerate at then they just aren’t effective. Depending on how severe the tear is it could take weeks for the hamstring to heal and if reaggravated it could take even longer. It’s one of those injuries that only gets better with rest.

  10. steelerdeathstar said:
    I recall when Fornette first came into the NFL, he boasted about how easy he thought it was. I wonder what he thinks now?
    —————–

    He probably says you recall wrong, because that’s not what he said

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