A long 2018 season is carrying over to 2019 for Leonard Fournette.
Fournette, the 2017 first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has officially filed a formal challenge of the team’s wish to void the rest of the guaranteed money on his rookie deal. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, an arbitrator will ultimately decide whether the team will be able to convert more than $2.9 million in 2019 and more than $4.1 million in 2020 from fully guaranteed to not guaranteed at all.
All of this comes on the heels of when Fournette left the teams’ sideline to initiate a fight on the field in the Jaguars’ Week 12 loss to the Buffalo Bills. It also didn’t help that Fournette and fellow running back T.J. Yeldon looked disinterested sitting on the sideline of the final game of the season against the Houston Texans. This caused executive vice president of football operations, Tom Coughlin, to put out a statement criticizing the sideline demeanor.
“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.”
It was an unproductive year for Fournette, who only appeared in eight games because of the suspension and injury issues. When active, he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry on 133 attempts.
Between his struggles on and off the field along with Coughlin’s comments, it was widely considered that the Jaguars could potentially move on from Fournette during the offseason.
But during his press conference Wednesday. head coach Doug Marrone said that he had a productive meeting with Fournette recently.
“I had a meeting with Leonard—I wanna say last week,” Marrone told reporters. “We had a good meeting. I’m not going to speak for Leonard, but when he left that meeting … I think he’s in a really good place. That’s encouraging and I’m excited about that.”
While Marrone can be encouraged, the battle over guaranteed money will more than likely determine the relationship between the two parties.
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