The former top-five overall draft pick is just 25-years old and coming off his best statistical season to date. There should be no shortage of suitors for a man of Fournette’s talent on the trade block.
We take a deep dive into the top-five potential landing spots for the star running back.
Honorable Mention to Land Fournette
Kansas City Chiefs – This would appear to be overkill, but why not. The Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but he could prove to eventually be the replacement to Damien Williams as the team’s receiving back, rather than the every-down back. Williams’ contract is up following the 2020 season and he will be 29-years of age. Williams is a nice player but is a better receiving threat than a go-to option in the backfield, evident by the fact that he averaged less than 2.57 ypc in five of his 11 regular-season games in 2019.
Top-5 Trade Partners for Leonard Fournette
- 5. Los Angeles Rams
- It would seem somewhat odd to move on from Todd Gurley only to bring in another former first-round pick, one who will be looking to be paid similarly to Gurley very soon.
- With that said, Fournette is on his rookie deal through 2020. In 2021 the Rams’ salary cap space opens up, as they get the majority of the dead money from the Gurley and Brandin Cooks contracts off the books.
From a football perspective, the Rams have proven they will go as far as their run game can take them. A healthy Gurley made Los Angeles one of the most lethal offenses in football, while a rejuvenated CJ Anderson made them legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
As much as I like Cam Akers upside and Darrell Henderson’s change-of-pace abilities, Fournette would bring the type of bell-cow ability that the Rams lost when Gurley got bitten by the injury bug.
- 4. Chicago Bears
- David Montgomery struggled mightily at times during his rookie season, while Chicago showed no faith to lean on Tarik Cohen in the run game.
Thus far, Chicago has failed to bring in another running back this offseason. Currently, 2018 UDFA RB/FB hybrid Ryan Nall is the only other RB on the roster, aside from Montgomery and Cohen.
Fournette would serve as a tremendous upgrade in the Bears’ backfield and give the offense the type of identity they’ve been in search of.
- 3. Washington Redskins
- Derrius Guice is uber-talented, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t stay on the field. It’s hard to hedge your bets on a guy who’s appeared in a grand total of five games over his first two years in the league.
- Fournette gives Washington a reliable playmaker in the backfield, who proved a season ago he can play on all three-downs, hauling in a career-high 76 receptions.
No matter who’s under center for the ‘Skins next season, they’ll need to lean heavily on the run game to succeed.
- 2. Seattle Seahawks
- This just seems like a Pete Carroll move. Seattle is always looking for ways to get their hands on talent. They traded for Percy Harvin a few years back, they kicked the tires on Josh Gordon last year, the Seahawks are not afraid to swing for the fences.
Chris Carson is one of my favorite players in all of football, but there’s no denying he’s been somewhat injury prone over his career, never finishing a complete 16-game season in the NFL. He’s also had his fair share of fumble-itis over the past two years, putting the ball on the ground 10 times over his last 29 regular-season games.
Speaking of injuries, Rashaad Penny is still rehabbing from a late-season ACL tear and his return to the field is unknown at this time.
No team ran the ball more than the Seahawks down the stretch last season. Carson and Fournette would each see more than enough touches, while Fournette’s improved receiving abilities would allow him to man Penny’s role in the passing game.
- 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tom Brady handing the ball off to Leonard Fournette? Yes, please. The Bucs were the ninth-worst rush offense in football a season ago. Ronald Jones had some flashes in 2019, but is still best served as a change of pace back, while Peyton Barber is now in Washington.
The drafting of Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a nice addition, but Fournette clearly offers a higher upside for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
- The presence of Fournette would also likely limit Bruce Arians from getting too pass-happy this season, something that was an apparent detriment to the team last year.
- Brady has always been at his best when he’s had a bruising running back to hand the ball off to, i.e. Corey Dillon and Legarrette Blount. Fournette could be that guy in Tampa.