There has been a lot of talk surrounding Kansas City drafting a running back. Should the Chiefs trade for one? Is Leonard Fournette the answer?
For those of you that know me, I am normally in the “running backs don’t really matter” camp. However, there are always exceptions. Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is supposedly on the trade block and the former 4th overall draft pick from LSU has some upside that I think makes a potential trade worth mentioning.
For starters, Fournette is due just over $4 million for next season, which is a palpable number any way you look at. That is just $1 million more than the Chiefs unexpectedly found to give LeSean McCoy just before last season began. Yes, the Chiefs are in a tough spot cap-wise, but $4 million for an every down, bell cow running back is a deal. If Kansas City wants Leonard Fournette, they can make $4 million happen.
Did you know Fournette had a breakout season last year? Since he plays for the Jags, it’s understandable why no one really paid attention, but Fournette ran for over 1,100 yards and added another 500 receiving yards on 76 catches. This is where I think the improvement happened. He has always been a bulldozer, a guy who will fall forward and get the tough yards, but adding the pass catching ability will take him to the next level—especially in an Andy Reid offense.
Detractors will say, “He only had 3 touchdowns, can’t be that much of a bulldozer.” This is where you have to dig deep. Our own Kelly Thompson wrote on article on why the Chiefs shouldn’t trade for him here. Yes, the touchdowns were lackluster—my fantasy football team says thanks—but teams constantly key in on Fournette when Jacksonville is in the red zone. They weren’t scared of getting beat by a 6th round rookie QB wearing jorts; it was the 228 pound bruiser.
Think of the Chiefs adding a player who consistently falls forward, doesn’t have fumbling issues, and has added pass catching to his resume. Pair him with Patrick Mahomes and watch out. I also want to point out, for all of the people that said he was immature or lazy, this man played every game last year except for week 17 because of an illness. This man was listening to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo’s play calls in the preseason when he wasn’t playing because he wanted to grow, according to ESPN. These signs of maturity point to continued growth.
Chiefs fans, how often were you left slightly confused on why the red zone numbers were down? How often did we see a 3rd or 4th and short go to Blake Bell instead of an easy run up the middle? The Chiefs didn’t have that guy on their roster. This is what Fournette brings, and it’s an addition that can take even more pressure off of Mahomes and add some additional pause on play-actions.
As far as a trade goes, yes there is a tipping point. The people that have said “give up Chris Jones for Fournette and their 1st” is asinine. If we want to be realistic, Fournette is in the last year of his rookie contract which helps drive his value down. Would the Jags take a 5th? Would a conditional 2021 pick get their attention? Fournette and the Jags seemingly haven’t seen eye to eye since he was drafted and losing takes a toll on a man. Keeping Fournette for the long haul may not be feasible but we thought Bashaud Breeland, Demarcus Robinson, and Sammy Watkins were for sure gone but looks like they valued winning, at least for 1 more year. Could Leonard Fournette do the same when the contract is up?
So there you have it, the case for trading for Leonard Fournette. He’s a man who has grown and matured both on and off the field, a man who is a bulldozer but can also catch the ball out of the backfield, a man with LSU ties which we know would make Honey Badger happy. Call up the Jags and let’s play “Let’s make a deal.”