Post-No NFL Waiver Claim Leonard Fournette News (There is hope arising/are we being lied to?)
So, no team claimed Leonard Fournette, which makes him a free agent. Why was he not claimed? Is he tainted off the field and team’s aren’t interested in him? What will happen next? Is he a wasted member of my fantasy roster? Is he worth drafting in redraft late? Is he worth buying low on in dynasty? Why do you still have him as a top 50 player in your rankings? Are the Patriots really in play?
Lots of questions hitting me on Fournette. Let’s set the scene and then explore ‘what to do’ (for fantasy). Also, note I did a two+ hour Video Q&A for subscribers last night and you can watch/listen to it on demand (see FFM/CFM for access info)…I talked about this and explored many things the entire two hours and ended on a whole Fournette to Patriots/Chiefs exploration. You might go from depressed to encouraged if you listen/watch to the entire two hours. Where we started and then ended is a Fournette roller coaster.
I’ll try to give a shorter version of it here…
Why was Fournette not claimed/is he tainted or a ‘bad locker room guy’?
Can I offer this defense of him? You know who else had an issue with Doug Marrone and was talent AND dumped and was then talked about (openly) as a bad locker room guy?
He seems to have landed on his feet. He seemed to be coveted by other NFL teams.
How about the constantly complaining Yannick Ngakoue? Many were desiring his services the past two years. Also, labeled a malcontent.
At what point is this a Doug Marrone/Jacksonville Jaguars problem? How is it that every Tom Coughlin/Doug Marrone era Jags’ star is now ‘gone’ (sold way short in the marketplace) and many labeled a malcontent? I thought every beat writer and national analyst breathlessly wrote about the ‘changing the culture’ Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone were bringing? Did they just pick awful players to work with…or is the ‘culture’/Jags’ management causing the discontent?
Is every player producing at a high level and wanting to be paid their market rate a ‘malcontent’ in the eyes of multi-millionaire Doug Marrone, multi-millionaire GM David Caldwell, and the multi-millionaire silver spoon owner’s sons/family running around the team building?
Old school football coaches tend to brand/believe anyone who doesn’t work from 3am to 1am and sleep at the team’s facility and who doesn’t lap up what the coaches say with a ‘yes, sir…no, sir’ attitude --they are labeled a millennial malcontent. Head coaches are typically failed ex-players (topped out at a certain level) and can identify with the special teamers and 3rd-string QBs more than they can ‘the gifted’ they possess. That’s not just a pro football issue…
Typically, great players who are underpaid trying to be good enough to get paid are yes, sir and no, sir. Once they’ve established themselves and/or been paid…then the coaches cannot control them as much anymore, and thus they are now ‘malcontents’. Players wanting to be paid market rates (or higher) for their skills…for many an NFL team management…is being a malcontent (even though coaches and personnel people change teams every 2-5 years…they demand the players buy into a ‘family’ the moment a new coach arrives).
What if the real story is – the Jaguars are so poorly run that they create their own problems. And when they cannot handle/deal with ‘talent’ who has leverage suddenly…it gets out of their easy control and they then dump the players in an over-emotional fit in exchange for future draft picks (that they’ll waste or go through this same purge again with) and after they dump/sell short their talent they quickly brand the outgoing player a ‘malcontent’ so it provides cover for how awful their draft pick and/or management of the player was?
Jaguars management has to create this ‘we want TEAM players’ narrative because – they don’t want anyone to realize/talk about the obvious…the Jaguars are arguably the most mismanaged team in the NFL, and no good player is really happy there. That narrative/reality won’t sell tickets – “Come follow the exciting Jaguars, a team where no great players want to be so we are constantly trading them away for draft picks because you dopey fans love draft picks (like fantasy GMs) and it distracts you from the burning building of an organization we really have.”
You may have seen the recent news clip where the TV reporters were talking about the peaceful protests (and I forget which city, which is sad that there’s so many cities it could’ve been) with the large burning building behind them in the background.
This is Jaguars football management in a 0:30 second nutshell: https://youtu.be/igzNAzcXNBA
No matter Jags’ management says/spins…I can see the burning buildings for myself. Jaguar management, please stop telling us this: https://youtu.be/zDAmPIq29ro
The thing is…as we watch that ‘mostly’ peaceful protest clip (‘mostly peaceful’ protests are akin to a doctor ‘mostly getting your surgery right’ or spouse who was ‘mostly faithful’ to you) half of the viewers think the world is ending while the other half is sure the fires are being over-reported/aren’t a big deal to the bigger cause. I’m not saying which side is right, the answer lies in the middle somewhere I suspect, I’m not making a political statement, I’m just pointing out – the NFL is a lot like your flawed corporation you work for or like our flawed political process now. People/institutions will say anything to cover up their bad decisions and to protect their ‘world view/their team’ and/or ‘pocketbook/job’…and we are all left to have to figure out who is lying to us and who isn’t (which is a daunting task). And what if they are all lying (NO…not MY favorite NFL team, they would NEVER!!!)?
If the Jaguars want to dump Leonard Fournette and get nothing in return – the Jags management cannot then say what a delight he was…even though he WAS their offense the past couple of seasons. It would make them look bad. He was a #4 draft pick overall, which means either the Jaguars made a massive draft mistake or massive management of him mistake. They can’t admit either thing, so it has to be Fournette’s fault. I do know this – all the other good/great Jags’ performers who were ‘bad dudes’/tarnished as they were being dealt, there were other teams willing to give assets to acquire them.
Maybe it is that Fournette is a bad dude. We haven’t seen or heard real evidence of that until just now. We have heard him train like Rocky in Montana or Idaho or wherever all last year, and then played 15 games last year AS the offense (the guy the defenses concentrated on). No issues last year any of us heard of. He wondered why Cam Newton wasn't signed/looked at by the Jags -- what an insurrection to authority!!! We do know Jacksonville didn’t draft or sign a real RB this offseason or cut Fournette June 1st. So, there WAS no real plan to replace him…no concern shown by the Jags in 2020. Then all the sudden they dump Fournette…and Ngakoue…to go with dumping Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey and Tom Coughlin, the list goes on. Why are all the talented malcontents on the Jaguars? How unlucky!!
What if this Fournette situation is simply – the Jaguars are so mismanaged, have so little hope for 2020, and had the worst CAP situation coming into 2020, that they are just slashing payrolls to bank money and prep for 2021 harsh realities and trying to rebuild (again) for down the road? Again, you can’t sell season tickets with that message…so, ‘spin’ needs to happen.
The worst thing the Jaguars have going is GM David Caldwell…but he’s never taken to task for any of this chaos he’s created. So, why would we trust his vision/management of the Leonard Fournette situation (or any other ‘given away/dumped’ Jags' star in 2020…how could they ALL be so bad)?
If Leonard Fournette is actually an acceptable enough human for an NFL team (and he must have checked out OK to be a #4 pick in the draft and build the offense around him last season…and if Adrian Peterson and Josh Gordon and Jalen Ramsey and Johnny Manziel and a hundred others are OK enough/worse and still get onto teams) – then some NFL team is going to get a massive ‘steal’ of a player because the Jacksonville Jaguars ownership/management is somewhere between (or both) idiotic/terrible at what they do and trying to save money for the private jet fleet of the owner and his kids/relatives who are mixed into the running of the team.
We live in a world where Reuben Foster remains on an NFL roster and Leonard Fournette is not.
The NFL Network intelligentsia isn’t going to report things harshly on team management, and couple that with the fact that because we all think that people that work in football are holier than the Pope -- then we easily assume that Leonard Fournette must be a bad guy and no NFL team wants him…because we don’t begin with assuming the info/spin right now is coming from a feckless management group and a lying/spin football media who ‘protects the brand’ and laps up the garbage team management spews to stay in good stead with them.
I think we are about to find out what other NFL teams are going to find out, as they do due diligence – it’s not a 100%/major Fournette problem, it’s a major Jacksonville management one…again. *See, also: The Cleveland Browns.
What NFL team/management is it that always capitalizes on the sheer stupidity of the worst run teams in the NFL? The New England Patriots.
I didn’t believe that the Patriots would jump in during waivers because they are too smart to pay $4M to a running back in this RB economy, but now they can create a one-year deal (incentive-laden) for Fournette in the same vein as Cam Newton’s and get a franchise back falling right in their laps.
I do believe the rumors that the Patriots’ management is interested (in a team-friendly ‘deal’) and are talking to Fournette’s people. And that’s brilliant by Fournette’s reps to let out in public because when the Patriots are involved, it legitimizes the player ‘if Belichick is after him, he must be OK’ is how half the league’s personnel departments are run anyway.
I believe Fournette’s people have the Patriots as their fallback position if no other team steps up to pay him a bigger deal. I mean, if Joe Mixon can get 4-years, $48M, then Leonard Fournette is worth that range. If Kenyan Drake is getting $8M this year because of a few good games at the end of last season on a terrible team, then how can Fournette be a league minimum one-year deal right now?
I believe the New England and Kansas City talk is Fournette talking to the right/respected teams (or pretending to/letting it out in the media), in order to try to get contenders/pretenders to step up monetarily for him – like Tampa Bay. If Bill Belichick is about to swoop in…then the Bucs have to see their 1-2 year Brady-window as way better with Fournette than Ronald Jones/LeSean McCoy and would need to belly up quickly to beat Belichick to the punch. Fournette negotiations right now could potentially be a tug o’ war NE and TB, where the Bucs want to surround Brady with toys to buy his affection, and NE wants to show they don’t need Brady by winning big without him.
Fournette wins either way.
For Fantasy, you feel Fournette despair right now -- but what if the following happens in the next 48 hours…
1) Fournette signs an incentive-heavy deal with New England for a year? I’d argue Fournette might be better as a 70/30 split with James White than a 90/10 split in Jacksonville…with the NE O-Line (and Belichick).
Fournette comes in, Sony Michel is traded and Damien Harris runs as a #3 back in-waiting for 2021.
Fournette is then…what…back to the 3rd-round in redrafts? Maybe even 2nd-round?
His Dynasty value rises back as he rehabs any image hit working with Belichick.
2) Fournette signs a better deal, longer-term with Tampa Bay with Ronald Jones as his backup in an 80/20 split. Fournette is 2nd-round then in redrafts, right?
Dynasty value rises with him on the Bucs vs. Jags, no?
I can’t draft Ronald Jones right now, in redrafts/dynasty, until I see where Fournette lands.
3) Kansas City signs him for a year and he accepts to make a Super Bowl run.
Well, good-bye Clyde Edwards-Helaire 1st-round status and #1.01 in the DRD.
Fournette would run 50/50 split or slight lead with CEH as an understudy. Hold your breath for those with CEH in redrafts.
4) L.A. Chargers sign him to a nice deal because he’s everything Anthony Lynn desires in a running back. He then becomes the lead in a split with Austin Ekeler and Fournette gets the majority touches like Melvin Gordon did the moment his holdout ended last season…and Ekeler then became Mr. PPR junkie (but now his supplier (Rivers) is gone).
Fournette is a 3rd/4th-rounder again for redraft here, right? Dynasty value rises.
I think the four situations above are the four most likely things to happen right now – add in the Saints if Alvin Kamara has a worse back issue than anyone knows (unlikely).
I’m starting to believe we're about to go from a ‘Great Depression’ on Leonard Fournette (those that drafted already or own in Dynasty or Best Ball) to a feeling like we won the lottery…and it’s going to happen in the twinkle of an eye (and the Great Depression will be transferred to a Sony Michel, Damien Harris, Ronald Jones, Austin Ekeler, CEH, etc., owner).
Teams have to declare their 53-man roster by 9/5 Saturday 4pm this weekend, so a deal with Fournette is likely to happen before the weekend. If it doesn’t…then worry he’s holding out for as long as it takes for an RB injury to pop in-season or just waits for next year. He is in no rush. He holds the cards. But a rehab of his character assassination by the Jacksonville management (whether 100% true or not) via a one-year deal with a respected coach/team may just be what the doctor ordered.
I see some rays of sunshine starting to peek through on Fournette right now. Don’t panic sell him. Do consider drafting him falling in redrafts rounds ???7-8-9-10??? Wherever you feel good about taking the risk, it may pay off HUGE. He's a Dynasty 'buy very low' from a panicked owner...and show no mercy, gut the weak/scared in a deal; assume they are 10x more scared then they are letting on.
You know I’ll keep updating this as I get word, or something actually happens.
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