The Jacksonville Jaguars intend to void the remaining guarantees that running back Leonard Fournette singed in his rookie contract, potentially saving the team $7.1 million and allowing them to move on from the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed the step Monday morning.
The Jaguars had the right to take that step after the NFL suspended Fournette for one game for violating unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness rules when he took part in an altercation in a game against the Buffalo Bills in late November.
Fournette can challenge the team’s ruling, but if it is upheld, the Jaguars can walk away from the contract and owe him no more money. They also could try to trade Fournette, and some team could find great value in a 23-year-old, former first-round selection with a cap-friendly contract.
Fournette and fellow running back T.J. Yeldon drew the ire of team vice president Tom Coughlin on Sunday, who issued a terse statement after the loss to Houston.
Fournette was inactive because of injuries, and Yeldon was in uniform. Cameras caught them sitting on the bench and looking disinterested in what was happening on the field.
“I am disappointed in the behavior today from T.J. Yeldon and Leonard Fournette,” Coughlin said. “They were disrespectful, selfish and their behavior was unbecoming that of a professional football player.”
Yeldon didn’t play on Sunday. His contract expires in March, and he is not expected to be back with the Jaguars.
Fournette missed the equivalent of seven full games with a hamstring injury, and team officials were said to be frustrated over the length of his rehabilitation as well as his lack of conditioning. He yelled at a fan in the stands in Tennessee in addition to his suspension following the Buffalo game.
Fournette rushed for 439 yards and five touchdowns on 133 carries (3.3-yard average) in eight games this season after racking up 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns on 268 carries (3.9-yard average) as a rookie.
—Field Level Media