Whenever a big name player gets cut or is on the trading block, they almost always get linked to the Eagles. Due to the fact that Howie Roseman has made splash signings in the past, coupled with this fan base’s tendency to try and speak this kind of stuff into existence, it’s just inevitable.
The latest player to garner some attention from the Philly faithful is recently released running back Leonard Fournette.
During his days at LSU, he was easily the most feared back in the nation. In his best collegiate season, Fournette ran for 1,953 yards while averaging 6.5 yards per carry, finding the end zone a total of 20 times.
This incredible season lead to Fournette getting selected fourth overall in 2017 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
If you based your opinion on Fournette solely off what you see on Twitter, you’d think this guy has been a complete bust, a Trent Richardson 2.0. While he hasn’t lived up to the expectations placed on him coming out of college, he’s had a fine NFL career thus far.
In three NFL seasons, Fournette has accumulated 2,631 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns with a career yards per carry average of 4.0. He also proved last season that he can catch the ball out of the backfield, reeling in 76 catches for 522 yards.
Doug Pederson and the Eagles have vocalized their desire to bring in a veteran back throughout this offseason. Carlos Hyde, LeSean McCoy and Devonta Freeman have all been on the team’s radar.
Pederson has also had a power back in his rotation in each of his four seasons as the Birds head coach.
- 2016 — Ryan Matthews
- 2017 — LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi
- 2018 — Josh Adams and Ajayi
- 2019 — Jordan Howard
They don’t currently have anyone who truly fits that mold. Corey Clement could be that guy, and by accounts he’s had a very encouraging camp this season, but he’s not your prototypical ‘power back.’ They also have Elijah Holyfield at the bottom of the depth chart, but it’s still unclear how much confidence Doug and Duce Staley have in him.
Fournette is only 25 years old, he’s exactly the kind of power back the Eagles need, the only thing that could hold Howie back from pulling the trigger is his desired salary.
Once Fournette clears waivers, which he almost certainly will, any team will be able to hand Fournette a brand new contract and not have to pay his $4 million base salary that he had with the Jags for this year.
For the Eagles to even consider this move, they’ll have to be getting Fournette on a bargain contract. We all know how bad their cap situation is at this point. If he can be had on a one-year, ~$2 million contract, I say do it.
He’ll also need to accept a backup role to Miles Sanders, which isn’t a guarantee. If he wants to be the bell cow back, there’s no shot he comes to Philly. But, if Fournette is willing to put his pride aside and join a team that will be competing for a championship, Philly is the place to be.