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Will Jaguars look to deal Leonard Fournette?

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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We are now less than two weeks from the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, and probably the biggest personnel question still hanging out there for the Jaguars is: are they going to try to trade star running back Leonard Fournette?

Clearly there are two points to make. One, Fournette is a tremendous explosive talent, when he is healthy. And that qualifier, staying healthy, was a big problem last season. This as, Fournette missed all or most of eight of the Jaguar games with a hamstring injury.

However, the second point is that Fournette has been a headache off the field in more ways than one. So, now you wonder if VP of Football, Tom Coughlin and coach Doug Marrone haven’t decided to get something of value in return for Fournette and “move on” at the running back position.

The latest part of the off-field trouble was Fournette’s Thursday arrest in Jacksonville for repeated speeding violations and driving with a suspended license. The team said at the time that they were “gathering information” and would not have further comment, but you have to believe they are seething, privately.

This is because, last season included Fournette getting himself ejected in the November loss at Buffalo for fighting with Bills defensive lineman Shaq Lawson. Fournette was subsequently suspended the next week by the NFL and that’s where the team has taken the step to void the remaining guaranteed money on his contract due to clauses in the deal involving behavior.

Fournette is appealing the Jaguars decision for the NFL players Association.

And one more from the end of last year, Fournette was inactive with an ankle injury for the season finale in Houston and CBS Television cameras and announcers caught he and teammate T.J. Yeldon completely uninterested in participating in watching the game or being with their offensive teammates while the game was going on.

Coughlin felt compelled to publicly rebuke both Fournette and Yeldon for their behavior and disrespecting their teammates. So you know there is plenty of acrimony from the front office.

Now, Marrone publicly stated in January that they had met with Fournette and smoothed things over, you haven’t heard that from Fournette’s side.

And now the arrest Thursday has to have complicated matters. And, this is just in time for Jacksonville to potentially get someone to give them a decent draft pick, make a swap and be rid of the headaches.

It doesn’t do Jacksonville any good to outright release Fournette for nothing in return. He’s too valuable to others. And, given that it would only accelerate his signing bonus money onto this year’s cap, it makes no financial sense for a team that’s already been cap-strapped all offseason. (Fournette’s cap number is $7.4 million this season).

Now, we wait find out whether Jacksonville wants to move Fournette and is there a good offer for him?

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars complete blockbuster Jalen Ramsey trade to Rams

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night, Jalen Ramsey finally got his wish and is headed out of Jacksonville and West to the L.A. Rams.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was the first to report that the disgruntled Ramsey was being dealt from the Jaguars for the tremendous asking price of two number one draft picks and a future mid-round selection:

Ramsey has not played for the last three weeks with what he and the team have been contending is a back injury. However, there was much growing speculation, especially last week, that Ramsey was being held out because Jacksonville fully intended to complete a trade with someone.

And, they didn’t want to risk damaging Ramsey for his new team.

Ramsey confirmed the trade on social media and certainly seemed eager to have North Florida in his rear view mirror:

It’s no secret that Ramsey has wanted out of Jacksonville, since the week two defeat in Houston. That’s when Ramsey got into things on the sidelines with coach Doug Marrone over Marrone not challenging a completion to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, whom Ramsey had been covering.

As we had been told at that time Ramsey and Marrone and cleared the air however his bigger problem is with VP of football Tom Coughlin and Coughlin would ultimately be in charge of approving a long-term contract extension for Ramsey be on this year.

Ramsey responded by supposedly having “the flu” three weeks ago. Then two days later couldn’t practice with what was termed a “stiff back” by Marrone. Then, later that Wednesday, the team released a statement that Ramsey was being allowed to leave to be present for the birth of his second child.

It seemed that the team just didn’t want him around, while a trade was contemplated. Then, suddenly, Ramsey was back and flew with them to Denver, but was inactive and missed his first game since being drafted in the first round in 2016.

Then, interestingly, owner Shad Khan damaged his own credibility while either not knowing or publicly bluffing everyone over the last couple of weeks with the Ramsey affair.

This as, Khan first gave an interview to the AP two weeks ago saying that he was not inclined to trade Ramsey. Then earlier last week, Khan insisted in an interview with “The Street” business website that he had met with his problem former first round pick, and Ramsey would be playing Sunday against the Saints.

That did not happen, and it’s obvious, now, Jacksonville was waiting for the best possible deal and L.A. came calling.

The haul in return is significant and shows that the Jags were right to wait over the past 2-3 weeks to make a trade.

L.A. is in disarray after losing their third straight game, 20-7 Sunday to the 49ers, and suffering in their secondary. The team placed DB Aqib Talib on IR with a rib injury Monday.

The Jaguars and the Rams also completed a big trade a year ago when Jacksonville Dealt away defensive end Dante Fowler for third and fifth round picks in return. Fowler went on to have a good year down the stretch in L.A. and ended up helping them make the Super Bowl.

Ramsey also comes at a bargain in the short term for the Rams, as he is only making the prorated remainder of his $2.4 million salary for this year.

The Rams and GM Les Snead can also decide to keep Ramsey for his fifth year option at $13.7 million for 2020.

And, the Rams cleared some salary-cap room, and at Ramsey’s position, when they traded defensive back Marcus Peters to the Cleveland Browns earlier on Tuesday.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jalen Ramsey officially questionable for Sunday

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The intrigue continues around disgruntled Jags defensive back Jalen Ramsey and his status for Sunday’s home game with the New Orleans Saints.

Ramsey is officially listed as “questionable” for Friday afternoon by the team after participating on a limited basis, again, with what he and the team insists is a bad back.

ESPN Jaguars beat writer Mike DiRocco reported that Ramsey will be receiving treatment both Friday afternoon and Saturday to make sure he can play for the first time since the Jaguars defeated the Titans three weeks ago on Thursday night football:

“He’s been able to progress a little bit,” Jags coach Doug Marrone said Friday after practice. “He’s out there working hard trying to get more and more done each day. Today we got a little bit more done than yesterday. So we’re just taking it step by step.”

We continue to write and qualify the “back injury” that Ramsey has, because of the soap opera that Ramsey and the team have undergone, since he requested to be traded a month ago.

This includes, Ramsey and his agent telling the team he had “the flu” two weeks ago, but then, the team also excusing him two days later to be with his girlfriend for the birth of a second child.

Ramsey then, rejoined the team three days later, flew to Denver (with the supposed bad back) and then, was inactive for the first time in his Jacksonville career. Then, he flew all the way back to North Florida with the team late that night.

Next, after not practicing last week with the listed “back injury,” Ramsey flew to Houston instead of accompanying the Jags to Charlotte. The team announced that he was excused to see a back specialist on Monday, but Ramsey was also photographed on social media socializing with Texans QB Deshaun Watson on Sunday evening after Houston’s home win earlier that day.

This cast further doubt about the seriousness of the “back problems” vs. him wanting out of Jacksonville. And, the Jags trying to figure out a trade vs. risking injury by playing him, etc.

Ramsey returned to practice Wednesday. And then, Jags owner Shad Khan said in an interview with the financial website, “The Street” on Thursday that Ramsey will be playing Sunday after he and his disgruntled Pro Bowl defensive back had met and cleared the air this week.

Now, we stay tuned to find out if Ramsey will be on the field Sunday afternoon?

The Jaguars certainly could use him to help cover one of the top pass catchers in the NFL right now, in Saints WR Michael Thomas.

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