The Jaguars have tried and tried and tried some more to trade running back Leonard Fournette. And they still have more time to try to trade him.
Even though the Jaguars have announced that Fournette, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft, has been waived, the move doesn’t become official until 4:00 p.m. ET. The Jaguars can trade him before officially waiving him.
Although coach Doug Marrone has bemoaned the inability of the Jaguars to get anything for Fournette, the news of his release will prompt interested teams to look at the waiver priority and wonder whether they’ll get him, if they make a claim.
Making a waivers claim means paying Fournette $4.167 million for 2020, guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap and with no offset language (the Jaguars and Rams routinely remove offset language from top-10 draft pick contracts). If, as the day unfolds, a team with a need at the position and an interest in Fournette (who had over 1,600 yards from scrimmage last year) decides to make a waivers claim, that team may get nervous about a team higher in the pecking order making a claim, and snagging Fournette.
The easy way to keep that from happening would be to call the Jaguars and offer something/anything. Conditional sixth-round pick. Conditional seventh-round pick. Whatever. It’s more than what Jacksonville will get for waiving him, and it ensures that a team that decides on Monday that it wants Fournette will get him.
It’s happened several times before. A team leaks or announces that a player will be released, and then the team trades the player. It could happen today, as coaches, General Managers, and/or owners begin to take a closer look at Fournette’s body of work, and possibly to conclude that they want him badly enough to offer a late-round pick from a 2021 crapshoot that will be much more crap than shoot.