Why the Chiefs shouldn't pursue a trade for Leonard Fournette
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Leonard Fournette, Chiefs

Why the Chiefs shouldn’t pursue a trade for Leonard Fournette

The Jacksonville Jaguars have reportedly made Leonard Fournette available via trade ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. While rumors fly before the draft, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio believes the Kansas City Chiefs should pursue a trade for Fournette.

Just this past season, the Chiefs were able to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Led by the arm of Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City was home to the Super Bowl champions for the first time since 1969.

In recent seasons, the Chiefs have arguably built the most dynamic aerial offense in the NFL. With Mahomes slinging the ball, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are the main recipients of Kansas City’s passing onslaught.

However, even for a team like the Chiefs, there are times when you need to be able to run the ball effectively. Amid their Super Bowl season in 2019, Kansas City used a few running backs in their backfield. When it was all said and done, Damien Williams led the Chiefs in rushing with a mere 498 yards.

Despite Williams performing well in the postseason, the Chiefs could undoubtedly use another running back next season. That could lead some to believe that Kansas City could make a surprising move to acquire Fournette. With that being said, here is why the Chiefs shouldn’t pursue a trade for Fournette.

Reasons why the Chiefs shouldn’t trade for Fournette

Fournette has spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the Jaguars, with 2019 seeing his highest usage in the offense. The former No. 4 pick carried the ball 265 times for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

In addition, Fournette hauled in a career-high 76 receptions for 522 yards. On the surface, his 76 receptions make it seem as if he was a reliable threat in Jacksonville’s passing attack. However, his 6.9 yards per reception are from efficient.

As for Fournette’s contract, the LSU product carries a $8.6 million cap hit next season. That gives him the fifth-largest cap hit among running backs in 2020 — even ahead of guys like Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey. If a team trades for Fournette, they would also have the chance to pick up his fifth-year option in 2021.

For the Chiefs, they currently don’t have enough cap space to sign their incoming rookies, and that is after they restructured Sammy Watkins’ contract. Therefore, Fournette would likely be too expensive for Kansas City.

Of course, putting Fournette in the backfield with Mahomes seems like a dream scenario on paper. But why would Kansas City mess with a formula that just helped them secure a Lombardi Trophy?

Without a doubt, Fournette can be a productive running back in a few offenses. Given his inability to be efficient as a receiver, coupled with his contract, the chances that the Chiefs target Fournette are slim to none. Rather than paying an oft-injured running back nearly $10 million, Kansas City’s best bet would be to draft a running back this offseason.