Leonard Fournette Talks Wanting Cam Newton to Sign with Jaguars in Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2020

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 22: Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette lobbied for Cam Newton to join him in Northeast Florida.

Newton remains unsigned after being released by the Carolina Panthers. During an appearance Thursday on ESPN's First Take, Fournette said the 2015 MVP would be a great fit on the Jaguars:  

"I feel like, you know, Cam went to the Super Bowl, you know, he's a great guy. I've been knowing Cam for a minute now. Like I told some people that talked to me, I told them it's no disrespect to [Gardner] Minshew. I'm just trying to get in the best position as a team so that we can win. That's all that was about, just a friendly competition, because, you know, that bring out the best in people."

Fournette had previously made the pitch to Newton in a since-deleted Instagram post.

Some will read his comments as a slight toward Minshew, who appears to be Jacksonville's guy.

ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler reported March 2 the team was looking to move Nick Foles, thus giving Minshew a clear path to the starting job. By the end of the month, Foles became a member of the Chicago Bears.

Building around Minshew would make sense for the Jaguars. They've jettisoned a number of key players from what was once one of the NFL's best defenses, signaling what's likely to be a painful transitional phase:

The way in which Minshew finished his rookie season might give the team some level of pause about his long-term outlook, though.

Through his first eight appearances, the sixth-round draft pick had thrown for 1,976 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions. He then had 1,295 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions over his final six appearances.

Minshew ranked 22nd in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) among the 34 quarterbacks with at least 200 passes, per Football Outsiders. That put him ahead of Jameis Winston (23rd), Baker Mayfield (25th), Josh Allen (28th) and Sam Darnold (32nd).

Still, Newton has red flags of his own based on his shoulder surgery in January 2019 and foot surgery in December. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevents teams from performing their own physical on him as well, a step an interested suitor would probably want to take despite ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting in March that Newton underwent a physical and passed.

Ultimately it would be surprising for the Jaguars to trade one veteran quarterback who could theoretically push Minshew as the backup, only to turn around and sign another to play the exact same role.

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