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Though he didn’t give any ringing endorsements either.
In a surprising move this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars released former 4th overall draft pick Leonard Fournette, who is now subject to the NFL’s waiver wire and can be claimed until 4:00pm ET today. That means teams will have a shot to pick him up at his current contract value before he hits the open market. Will the Miami Dolphins make a move to claim him? Head coach Brian Flores didn’t rule it out during Tuesday morning’s press conference (though he didn’t give much in the way of an indication either way).
Per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, when asked whether the Dolphins may take a shot at Fournette via the waiver wire, Flores replied, “We look at he waiver wire every day. Chris [Grier] and the scouting staff, they’ll make their evaluations and write a report and we’ll see, like all players who hit the waiver wire, we’ll see if it’s a good fit for us. If it is, we’ll make a move. If not, we won’t.”
Flores’ response is reminiscent of Bill Belichick-style answers to pressing questions. Essentially, we didn’t learn a whole lot of anything from Flores about the team’s feelings regarding Fournette, but it may be telling enough that he didn’t rule it out. That said, let’s take a look at whether there’s room for Fournette on the team should Miami make a move.
The Dolphins invested a decent portion of this year’s salary cap to bringing in Jordan Howard via free agency and also used a draft pick to trade for former San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida. Accounting for the fact that the salary cap is likely to drop next offseason due to COVID-19, it’s unlikely Miami takes on the over $4 million hit it would require to claim Fournette off the wire.
Snagging Fournette also seems unnecessary. Howard and Breida should make for a strong duo in the running game, and Fournette is the kind of player who is worthy of regular snaps, something he wouldn’t see in Miami’s backfield. Howard will be Miami’s early-down hammer, and Breida will take on the role of third down and pass-catching back. The Dolphins coaching staff also seems excited by what they’ve seen in Myles Gaskin as a primary reserve in the running back rotation.
Given his history of production and draft pedigree Leonard Fournette will land somewhere, and he’ll likely have a significant role in a running back stable. I just don’t think that somewhere will be in Miami.