*NOTE: Our next Draft Guide update will run when Fournette is claimed (or not) today.*
Waiver Claim Morning Update on Leonard Fournette…
You can (or did) read my first take in a flurry of activity this morning. Here’s an update on things going into the waiver claim period today…
I’d say it’s 50% likely Leonard Fournette is claimed from waivers and 50% he passes through and becomes a full free agent.
Waiver Claim Outlook…
Here’s a look at the teams that should be interested (per me) and showing in the order of who has claim priority:
1) WAS = They have no real exciting backs, but they also have no reason to pay for an expensive RB in a lost season. My guess is they pass.
*It makes no sense for Miami to make a claim (they are after WAS and before LAC in priority) after investing in Howard-Breida. Not a Brian Flores type player.
2) LAC = This makes a lot of sense with what Anthony Lynn is all about. This is his wet dream RB. He can pick up Fournette pair with Ekeler, hold Justin Jackson as a #3, and Josh Kelley as a #4 RB and special teamer.
I’d be surprised if he made past LAC, if teams do claim him.
3) NYJ = Add Fournette, dump Le’Veon…it’s costly at a bad time to be spending money. However, the Jets are RB desperate. It wouldn’t shock me.
*It would make sense for the Raiders to claim him here, for depth – but they have to know Fournette would be incensed to be a backup here and it would rattle Josh Jacobs.
4) TB = The do or die moment for Bruce Arians…the ‘go for the jugular while they have Brady’ or sit passively by and do nothing moment. Fournette is his kind of back and attitude. This makes a lot of sense…either to claim or try to get in free agency.
I think Arians would do this.
5) DEN = A dark horse candidate if they have Melvin Gordon rib fears. I highly doubt it. They pissed their money away on Melvin.
6) PIT = They’d have to be thinking about it. Add Fournette, trade or keep Conner, hold Snell as a backup. Release Jaylen Samuels. It’s basically a choice of Fournette or Conner (who will be gone next season)…why wouldn’t they choose Fournette for a year?
7) CHI = Doubtful, unless the Montgomery injury is worse than expected. They’ll die with DM, sadly for them. The new O-C knows Fournette well from 2019, which either hurts or helps his case here.
8) LAR = I think they’ll stick with their RBBC, but they have to be thinking about it. They can cut Malcolm Brown very easily (cost wise) and then make Akers/Henderson backups for a year.
9) PHI = I doubt he makes it to them, but they might pull the trigger since they want to have a three-man RBBC.
10) SEA = Only if they know Chris Carson is toast. They ended the 2019 season with Marshawn Lynch at RB, don’t tell me it’s not possible here.
*Kansas City is not going to add Fournette. Why would they at $4M? To improve a running game when they have Patrick Mahomes at QB? Actually, that sounds like a very NFL thing to do.
IF Fournette Goes Unclaimed…
It means there is bad news lurking from Jacksonville behind-the-scenes and no team is willing to commit…and then he’s not likely to play for a small deal in an RBBC if not claimed and paid $4M.
If not claimed, he’d become a free agent instantly, and could take a year off to get fresh, collect Jags money, and try to cash in when an RB injury hits Weeks 2-3-4-5 or wait until next year. Where he goes would depend on the team and the sudden need.
If Fournette passes through waivers today, it means there is an ice cold market for him for whatever reason and every RB from Mixon-to-Cook-to-Kamara should take note of playing a dangerous holdout game.
If Fournette is claimed (and paid $4M) it also means teams like CIN-MIN-NO should just give their underpaid lead backs a $2-3M raise this year to play instead of putting money into claiming Fournette or trying to stick their top RBs with their bad contract.
Unclaimed Fournette would be a shocking turn of events and has to make you wonder HOW THE HELL is Kenyan Drake getting $8M for this season and Leonard Fournette cannot find a gig?? It could happen.
There are too many talented RBs in the league, and more flooding in from college every year, to pay any of these guys…and beat writers are there to hype the fresh rookies, so it makes it even worse for proven backs like Fournette to hit the market.
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