Leonard Fournette cleared waivers Tuesday and has at least one suitor as a free agent. The Patriots have expressed interest in the former No. 4 overall pick, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets.
The Pats saw 2018 first-rounder Sony Michel miss time again during training camp, and although recent signing Lamar Miller has been cleared and 2019 third-round pick Damien Harris has impressed, New England’s backfield is somewhat muddled as the regular season approaches.
Despite the Jaguars waiving Fournette, he should garner interest from more than just the Patriots. The LSU product has two 1,000-yard seasons on his resume. He played a key role in helping a Blake Bortles-quarterbacked team to the 2017 AFC championship game, where the Jags narrowly lost to the Patriots.
Last season, Fournette rushed for a career-high 1,152 yards. However, he has only cleared 4.0 yards per carry once in a season (2019) and slumped through an injury- and suspension-marred 2018 slate. Fournette, 25, does not offer much in the passing game, but the Patriots have a veteran passing-down specialist in James White.
New England returns Michel, Rex Burkhead and White from its 2019 rotation but signed Miller last month. Miller is attempting to return from a torn ACL. Neither he nor Michel is eligible to be stashed on the Pats’ reserve/PUP list.
Thus far, however, the Patriots represent Fournette’s only known suitor. The Bears, who are without David Montgomery currently, are not looking to sign him.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.