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Jaguars waive RB Leonard Fournette after three seasons

The Jacksonville Jaguars have jettisoned another big-name player.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that the Jags waived running back Leonard Fournette, per a source informed of the decision.

The team later confirmed the move.

The former No. 4 overall pick in 2017 was selected to be the centerpiece of the Jags' ground-and-pound vision, as seen by former VP Tom Coughlin. While Fournette had fine counting stats, his efficiency never lived up to the draft status.

"Really just trying to take the team and put the best team together from what we've seen in our practices so, at the end of the day, I just felt that was the best decision for us as a team," coach Doug Marrone told reporters on why the decision was made so close to the season opener. "I think it gives us the best opportunity with the skillsets that we have with the other players in there, I just thought that was the best for the team and doing it now. We exhausted all trade opportunities; we weren't able to get anything there so I just felt that now we can work on the team and the plan and get ourselves ready for the season."

The Jags had been attempting to trade Fournette for months but found no takers.

Marrone explained his trade interest was essentially nonexistent.

"My question was, 'Can we get any value?' And we couldn't get any. Fifth, sixth, we couldn't get anything," he said.

In 2019, Fournette rushed for 1,152 yards on 265 carries with three TDs, averaging a career-best 4.3 yards per carry in 15 games. In his three seasons in Jacksonville, the 25-year-old compiled 2,631 yards and 17 TDs on 666 attempts, for a 4.0 yards-per-carry average.

His tenure in Jacksonville was a rocky one, from run-ins with management to ineffective play. In 2018, the team suspended the running back for one game following a fistfight with Bills defender Shaq Lawson.

The Jags had previously declined Fournette's fifth-year option. He was set to make $4.167 million in base salary. He's subject to waivers after being cut by Jacksonville.

The move comes a day after the Jaguars traded star pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota. The defensive end had pushed hard to get out of Jacksonville for months.

Fournette didn't appear to be in the Jags' long-term plans, but it's still somewhat of a surprise for the team to cut ties with a year left on his contract. Marrone and his staff apparently are confident in the young stable, which includes 2019 fifth-round pick Ryquell Armstead, former Saint Devine Ozibo, and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden favorite Chris Thompson as a pass-catcher. Expect a committee backfield out of Jacksonville after jettisoning Fournette.

Fournette is a two-down bruiser who didn't bring a ton to the passing-game in Jacksonville. He'll land elsewhere in what should be a committee backfield. Whether someone snags him off waivers and picks up the entire final year of his deal will be the interesting part.

The tale of Fourntte's tenure in Jacksonville will be another reminder of the precarious nature of selecting a running back high in the draft -- particularly one who isn't a dual-threat like Christian McCaffrey, who went four picks later to Carolina in 2017.

Fournette is the latest member of the 2017 Jaguars squad that almost made the Super Bowl to be shipped out of town. Now that team is almost all gone just three years later. Life in the NFL comes at you fast.

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