Fournette

Should the Bears Sign Leonard Fournette?

  • Chicago Bears
  • david montgomery
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Leonard Fournette
By Sam Stevenson September 1, 2020 0 Comment
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Leonard Fournette to the Bears is becoming a more serious move. Will the team take a chance on the former Jaguar?

Leonard Fournette was the Jacksonville Jaguar’s 4th overall pick back in 2017. His career since then has had high and lows. Fournette battled injuries and an organization that fell apart after an AFC Championship appearance. After months of rumored trade calls, the team finally waived the 25-year old back.

For the Chicago Bears, it seems like their running back room is set. Second year back David Montgomery is poised to take the lead role. Tarik Cohen will serve for more passing situations. The team has two promising young backs in Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce. That being said, would Fournette bring a new presence to the team that the offense may need? Could he be the spark to get the Bears moving the ball?

Fit on the Team

The team does have Montgomery as the more “workhorse” back. However, he recently injured his groin during training camp. While reports indicate it’s a minor injury, the team may be fearful to immediately put him back into action, especially against a weaker Detroit run defense.

Fournette would immediately replace Montgomery as the team’s lead back. In 2019, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and was active in the passing game. The former Jaguar would help set the run game early, so that the Bears’ potential passing threat could get active early on. This would also allow the team to shift Cordarrelle Patterson back to wide receiver.

Fournette also has connections to the Bears’ coaching staff. Newly hired quarterback coach John DeFilippo was Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator last season. Coincidently, that was also the year that Fournette had over 70 receptions.

Of course, if Montgomery were to be 100% Week 1, there could be a power struggle in the backfield. Fournette would presumably want to be the lead back. Montgomery was drafted to take that role. Unless Fournette is willing to co-exist and play a smaller role on the offense, it seems unlikely that the two could mesh well with one another.

Money

Thanks to the ever crafty Ryan Pace, the team has roughly $16 million in cap space. That’s more than enough to secure Fournette on a cheap, one-year “prove-it” deal. The team has been signing a plethora of former first-round picks, like Germain Ifedi or Artie Burns.

The only problem is that Fournette may think his value is worth more than what the Bears offer. If Fournette is looking for a longer-term deal, or simply more guaranteed money, the Bears would not be the place to go. The team is going to be tight on cash in the long haul. An investment into Fournette could prove too pricey. The former LSU Tiger could wait and sit on the market for a more needy team to come his way; a situation the Bears should not participate in.

Injury Woes

The young back’s biggest concerns are his injured ridden past. He has had problems with his hamstring and neck in 2019 and can’t seem to stay healthy consistently. The Bears may not want to take the risk on a back with a history of missing games. Considering they avoided a serious problem with Montgomery’s injury, the thought of losing another back may be enough for the team to stay away.

Final Thoughts

The most realistic way that the team would bring on Fournette is if it was for a cheap deal. The back would also have to be willing to split reps with Montgomery and Cohen. If all of those were met, the former Jaguar would be a great addition to the team’s offense. He would bring good depth, as well as a dual-threat style of play to the offense. Whoever wins the team’s quarterback competition would only benefit from another weapon like Fournette. Whether it’s in Chicago or elsewhere, Fournette has already promised that his new team will get a focused, motivated player who is ready to prove he is still a feature back in the NFL.

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