Jags part ways with the former top-5 pick
The Jacksonville Jaguars can be called a lot of things. Is dumpster fire too harsh? It’s hard to believe that the team seen today was the same team giving Tom Brady a run for his money in the 2017 AFC Championship game just 3 years ago. At the same time, it’s easy to see because this is not the same team anymore. All the players that made that 2017 Jaguars team great are gone, and the final nail in the coffin came early this week.
DE Yannick Ngakoue was traded to the Vikings and RB Leonard Fournette was released. These two were arguably the best two players on the Jacksonville Jaguars, and now they are gone. What do the Jags have left? Gardner Minshew – a quarterback who would be a good backup on most teams? Is that who they are banking on? The Jacksonville organization must really be hoping that their fans are distracted enough to by ‘Minshew Mania’ to not notice how bad the team is.
It seems like the front office gave up after they had a rough season following the run to the championship. Tanking isn’t the way to get back to the top. Developing players and creating a good culture should be the first step, but it can’t be expected to happen overnight.
Culture may be part of the reason Fournette is gone though. According to teammates and staff, Fournette was known to have a poor attitude. However, it sounds as though he isn’t the best presence to have in the locker room. If that’s was the Jags angle, then they can be applauded for that. It’s too bad for them though because it appears other teams heard about Fournette’s big flaw. Coach Doug Marrone claimed they tried to trade Fournette, but “fifth-[rounder], sixth-[rounder] – we couldn’t get anything.”
Despite the slight given by his now-former coach, Fournette still gave thanks to the team drafted him fourth overall in the 2017 draft. He made a statement to the fans and organization that he gives his “deepest respect and appreciation” and is thankful for the “opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.”
Fournette will likely be able to continue that dream despite what’s been said about him. His stats show he is a solid player that could be helpful to some teams, at least on the field. Fournette has rushed for 2631 yards and 17 touchdowns over his three-year career. Last season, he rushed for 1152 yards, a career-best, which placed him at third for percent of team’s scrimmage yards with 31%. That put him only behind Christian McCaffery (44%) and Nick Chubb (33%). He’s also made some noise in the passing game with 76 receptions last year and over 1000 receiving yards throughout his career.
Several teams have been thrown out to be a potential landing spot for the running back. The most frequently mentioned teams include the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers. Regardless of what team Fournette ends upon, it will likely be an improvement over the Jaguars. Several players who have also left the organization have stated their relief to get out of Jacksonville. Previously mentioned, Ngakoue, who is now a Minnesota Viking, forfeited six million dollars to make the move. Anytime someone gives up that kind of money to get away from you, it’s saying something.