Leonard Fournette rumors: Patriots express interest in signing free-agent RB, per report

Leonard Fournette may not have garnered interest on the Jaguars’ trading block, but the recently waived running back has reportedly drawn attention from teams after clearing waivers.

Among those interested parties, per The Athletic: the Patriots.

A move to the Patriots would be interesting for Fournette, for several reasons; chief among them is the fact he has been his team’s leader in rushing attempts each of his first three years in the league — even in 2018, when he played in only eight games. Bill Belichick typically employs a running back by committee, however, with former Alabama running back Damien Harris reportedly looking to take on a larger role after a good camp.

Yet Fournette — a two-time 1,000-yard rusher who compiled more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage in 2019 — could bolster a stable of running backs in which Sony Michel and Lamar Miller are coming off foot and knee injuries, respectively. New England also has Harris, James White and Rex Burkhead on its roster, as well.

Something else to consider is Fournette’s reported “selfishness” as his team struggled to 5-11 and 6-10 seasons in 2018 and ’19, respectively. The No. 4 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft reportedly did not respond well to his team’s losing seasons.

“At the end of the day, I want to win,” Fournette told ESPN on Aug. 15. “Who doesn’t want to win? I came from a 2017 season with a team who was 10-6, we had (a good) talent level and then the next couple of years went down the drain. So I just want to address a lot of things, too, especially since the media came out and said I was an angry guy.

“No. 1, would you be angry if you’re losing week in and week out? That is one of my biggest problems; I do get upset when we lose and it takes me a while to get over it. I expect, just like anybody else, if you put the work in, you want the W, but a lot of times last year it didn’t go like that.”

That said, the Patriots are not familiar with the quantity of losses Fournette experienced with the Jaguars each of the last two seasons. New England has won the AFC East every year since 2009, hasn’t lost fewer than 10 games since 2002 and hasn’t suffered a losing season since 2000. As for Fournette’s reported selfishness, Belichick’s team-first approach — i.e., “Do your job” — should quell any issues the former LSU back might have otherwise experienced. It’s clear Belichick is willing to take on players with behavioral issues as well, as evidenced by the team signing Antonio Brown last September.

If the Patriots can manage to sign Fournette to their roster, it might be a good investment considering he would almost certainly take pressure away from recently signed Cam Newton. According to Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer, several other teams for whom Fournette would be a good include Washington, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia.

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