The Jacksonville Jaguars will be declining, or not picking up the fifth-year option for former fourth-overall selection Leonard Fournette who was drafted by the team in 2017.
First reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jaguars will not be picking up Fournette’s fifth-year option, worth ~$8.43 million which would have been fully guaranteed for injury only and due during the 2021 season. Teams had until May 3rd to make the decision. By declining Fournette’s option he will become an unrestricted free agent following the conclusion of the 2020-21 league year.
"I look at Leonard coming in here as a really motivated player"#Jaguars HC Doug Marrone on his RB @_fournette— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 1, 2020
Audio #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/a2zWarThAS
Prior to Fournette, the Jaguars picked up the fifth-year option on two other first-round selections in quarterback Blake Bortles (2014 first round selection) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (2016 first-round selection), neither player remains on the team. The Jagaurs also declined the option on 2015 first-round selection Dante Fowler Jr. who also is no longer apart of the team.
Over the past several months, the Jaguars and Fournette have been in the news due to trade rumors surrounding the franchise running back. Over the draft weekend, ESPN reported the team attempted to trade the running back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however Tampa Bay would move on.
Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell spoke on the trade rumors during his post-draft press conference, stating that the team did not have any offers for the running back and on a podcast hosted by LockedOnJaguars’ Tony Wiggins, the general manager stated he expects Fournette to be apart of the team.
“We expect Leonard to come in, he’s been doing the virtual offseason program the last two days, and he seems like he’s in a good spot. So we look forward to him coming in and competing and putting his best foot forward too,” Caldwell said.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone echoed those same sentiments on a Sirius XM interview earlier today as well.
The Jaguars have not added significant ammo to their running back room, although the team did sign former Washington running back Chris Thompson to a one-year deal earlier today. It is not yet known whether the running back will remain on the team following the 2020 season, however, for now he is expected to play for the team this year.