Leonard Fournette’s appeal could have $7 million in the balance

Getty Images

The hearing on Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette‘s one-game suspension will happen on Tuesday, and a ruling could come as soon as Tuesday night. (Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that James Thrash is handling the appeal.)

If the suspension stands, Fournette could have a problem far more significant than the nearly $100,000 in salary that he’d lose. Per multiple league sources, Fournette’s contract contains sufficient language to support an argument that the suspension voids the remaining guarantees in Fournette’s four-year rookie contract, wiping out a $7 million obligation that extends over 2019 and 2020. (Fournette would have the ability to challenge the voiding of the guarantees; giving the magnitude of the payment, there would be no reason not to.)

While this doesn’t mean that the Jaguars would cut Fournette if his guarantees void, the Jaguars would have the ability to do so with no further financial obligation, ducking $2.9 million in 2019 and $4.1 million in 2020. And they wouldn’t have to sever ties after the current season. They could give him another year at $2.9 million, with a chance to persuade the Jaguars to keep him at $4.1 million for 2020.

The voiding of the guarantees also would open the door to a potential trade, since his next team wouldn’t be committed to a firm $7 million over two years.

The flexibility that would come from the voiding of the guarantees becomes a factor in the broader assessment of Fournette as a player. He missed three games in 2017 and he has missed six games in 2018, all due to injury. If there’s a new coach or a new G.M. or a new executive V.P. of football operations in Jacksonville, there will be less of a compulsion to throw good money after a potentially bad draft pick.

However it plays out, this is precisely why Bears linebacker Roquan Smith held out. Broad language that voids guarantees can become that “gotcha” item a team can hold over a player, giving them a blank check to get out from under an otherwise guaranteed contract whenever they want.

16 responses to “Leonard Fournette’s appeal could have $7 million in the balance

  1. Good. If you do something stupid you deserve to take the consequences. This snowflake nation routine is getting old. Here’s an easy way to avoid it … don’t come off the bench throwing punches.

  2. Dumbass punches a guy with a helmet on and after he removes his own helmet.

    Why couldn’t this be Ramsey? id feel much better about it then.

  3. Exactly how his lawyer should pitch the appeal to arbitrator thrash — a former player himself.

  4. That is hilarious. He’s going to wish he had that 7 million in the bank when he’s out of the league in three more years and having to sell insurance or used cars or whatever back in Baton Rouge trying to scrape by in his old college town clinging on as a has been.

  5. He’s on a rookie deal, which is very cheap. I’d guess they don’t care about 7 million over his remaining contract and are more worried about the QBs bloated contract.

  6. psubeerman21 says:
    November 27, 2018 at 5:38 pm
    He’s on a rookie deal, which is very cheap. I’d guess they don’t care about 7 million over his remaining contract and are more worried about the QBs bloated contract.


    They are more worried about their defensive cap situation. They have a league high 105 million in cap hit for active defensive players. League average is 66 mill.

  7. They aren’t going to cut him unless they feel they need to move on because he’s injured so much. Maybe they should take that $7M and buy an offensive line. Their OL has been pathetic for most of the last decade.

  8. That’s disproportionate. A guy losing $7 million – maybe a big chunk of the money he’ll make during his life – over a couple of punches during a football game fight isn’t a funny story. It’s likely he ran down there to celebrate the presumed go-ahead TD and then stupidly got caught up in the aftermath, which was definitely wrong but hardly the crime of the century. We’re talking about a not fully mature 23-year-old guy here who is still in the developmental range of heavy risk-taking that often goes along with being under 25 years old. (Ask the auto insurance companies about that if you don’t believe neural science.) And his career as an NFL RB – and when he plays, he’s a dominant player who gets half of the offensive touches – probably won’t last more than four or five years on average due to heavy use and heavy punishment. Maybe one more contract if he doesn’t get hurt again. Meanwhile, the Jags almost rode this guy to the Super Bowl. I hope he doesn’t lose that chunk of money.

  9. Well if he loses that money, that is 100% on him and almost deserved. It’s not rocket appliances…

    …You’re not even in the play and you get into a fist fight (with someone wearing a helmet) in an area surrounded with cameras. It shows you’re either selfish, foolish, careless, or some combination of the bunch. He claims he was doing it for his team. You don’t help your football team by being the first to throw a punch. When has that ever worked out for someone? You’re either too dumb to realize there is a risk you take when making choices like that, or you are doing it on purpose because you don’t care about the risk. Either way, that’s the opposite of helping your team. Enjoy riding the bench next week, I’m sure you have gotten used to it by now. I honestly don’t care how good or bad the Jaguars do anymore. I’m just sick of seeing the players on the team act like goons.

  10. I’m a charter season ticket Jag fan and Fournette was a dumbass. Cost the Jags a game and two people their jobs. He’s either had injury or behavior problems since he’s got here. Waaaaay to go 27 not

  11. Leonard Fournett gained 79 yards vs Alabama in 2014. 31 in 2015 and 35 yards in 2016. Why did we draft this guy? He is always hurt and an obvious troublemaker. Another great first round pick like Blake Bortles.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.