While today’s NFL news is almost entirely focused on coaching staff shakeups, there are still some other interesting nuggets out there. One very noteworthy situation is the drama unfolding with the Jaguars and Leonard Fournette. Yesterday, head of football operations Tom Coughlin blasted Fournette for sitting on the bench during the team’s Week 17 loss, and now the team is voiding the remaining guarantees in his contract, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN (Twitter link). The voiding is a result of Fournette’s suspension by the league for one game a couple of weeks ago for his role in a fight that broke out in the Jaguars/Bills game. The NFLPA could challenge any such move, but if his contract included an exception for suspensions, as most rookie deals do, there might not be much they can do.
As a first round pick, Fournette’s multi-million dollar salaries for 2019 and 2020 had been guaranteed, but that’s no longer the case. The team can now cut Fournette without paying him anything more, and a parting of ways whether by trade or release now seems like a very real possibility. It’s a pretty significant development as a few weeks ago no one would’ve guessed the 2017 fourth overall pick’s longterm future with the team was in doubt. The Jaguars invested a very early pick in Fournette, but the returns have been underwhelming. He’s been injury prone and not particularly efficient even when healthy, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry this season. The Fournette situation will be one of the most interesting to monitor this offseason.
Here’s more from around the league on Black Monday:
- Nick Foles scared Eagles fans everywhere when he went down with a rib injury late in the team’s win over the Redskins, but the undeniably clutch signal caller will be alright for the playoffs. Tests on his ribs came back “clear”, and Foles will start this weekend against the Bears, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s great news for Philly’s chances, as they look to make a second straight magical run to the Super Bowl. No matter what happens with Foles, he’s extremely unlikely to be back with the Eagles in 2019.
- Adam Gase has been fired by the Dolphins, and not all of Miami’s players are sad to see him go. “Many players in Dolphins locker room won’t be hurt by decision to fire Adam Gase”, reports Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who reports that some players told him they felt “alienated” by Gase and that he held some players to a “different standard.” Reports like these surely won’t help Gase in his quest to land a new head coaching job, although he is still expected to be a hot candidate.
- Speaking of the Dolphins, one pleasant development for Miami this year was the breakout season cornerback Xavien Howard had. While Howard wants to sign a longterm extension with the Dolphins, his price tag might be too high, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald. Howard picked off seven passes this year, and told Beasley he wants to land the biggest contract for a cornerback in NFL history. Josh Norman currently holds that record, and Howard thinks he deserves to break it. Howard will be playing the final year of his rookie deal in 2019, and Beasley writes that “$15 million annually is expected to be the floor when Howard’s representatives begin extension talks this offseason.” The Dolphins will have a new coaching staff and front office, and it will be interesting to see if they’re willing to meet his demands as they head into a rebuild.