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Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette part of team’s plans going forward, GM says
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How the Jags declining Fournette’s 5th-year option affects RB market (0:54)

Mike Tannenbaum breaks down what the Jaguars declining Leonard Fournette’s 5th-year option means for the running back market in the NFL. (0:54)

8:09 PM ET
  • Michael DiRoccoESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered University of Florida for 13 seasons for ESPN.com and Florida Times-Union
    • Graduate of Jacksonville University
    • Multiple APSE award winner

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t pick up Leonard Fournette‘s fifth-year option, but they are going to be counting on his being a big part of their offense in 2020.

The Jaguars were shopping the fourth overall pick in 2017 for more than a month without any serious trade offers, and general manager Dave Caldwell told the PFT PM podcast on Monday that Fournette is part of the team’s plans going forward.

“There were just some minor discussions with that but nothing substantial throughout the draft or prior to the draft,” Caldwell said on the podcast. “I think the mindset is that we’re going to go forward with Leonard on the team. I had a good talk with him on Friday. I know Coach [Doug] Marrone has had some discussion with him.

“He seems to be in great shape and mental frame of mind, and we feel that he’ll have a great season this year.”

Fournette is coming off his best season as a pro, rushing for a career-high 1,152 yards and totaling 1,674 yards from scrimmage. He led the Jaguars with 76 receptions, but he scored only three touchdowns and was one of only three players in the NFL to catch 50 or more passes without a touchdown reception (Dalvin Cook and Kenyan Drake were the others).

Fournette was the first draft pick made by then-executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin in 2017. Coughlin wanted to build the team around a power-run game and dominant defense, and though that worked in 2017, when the Jaguars reached the AFC Championship game, things haven’t always gone smoothly between Fournette and the team.

Sticking with Fournette for 2020 seemed to be the way the Jaguars were leaning after they didn’t draft a running back and didn’t sign one in free agency until they added pass-catching back Chris Thompson on Friday. Second-year player Ryquell Armstead (35) was the most experienced back on the roster behind Fournette prior to the Thompson signing.

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