Last week reports emerged that the Jacksonville Jaguars were shopping running back Leonard Fournette. Accompanied with those reports was speculation that the Buffalo Bills could be a trade partner. Now is the time to strike for Brandon Beane for multiple reasons.
As with all trades a player’s contract is of most importance. Entering the final season of his rookie deal, Leonard Fournette comes at a cost of $4.16 million. According to Spotrac, the Buffalo Bills have roughly $20 million in remaining cap space. Therefore, contract wise the Bills can easily afford the $4.16 million hit while saving for future signings, draft picks, and in-season roster adjustments. Remember, the Bills only need to allocate about $4 million this year for draft picks as they no longer hold a first round pick.
Next with trades comes the compensation. Given this latest development with Fournette, combined with years of tension between player and organization, if the Bills can obtain the star running back for a 5th round pick or later then they should. In giving up a 5th round pick or later, the trade could develop as a free acquisition come next year. Should the Buffalo Bills decide not to re-sign Fournette then one would believe he could return at worse an equal return in a
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compensatory pick. Getting a running back at Fournette’s ability for essentially free is a no-brainer move.
As for the fit in what the Buffalo Bills are looking for it couldn’t be any better. The Buffalo Bills aren’t bringing back Frank Gore who was that bruiser type back and Fournette could be that and much more. Fournette’s calling card is a downhill bruiser back that isn’t scared to put his head down and get the tough yards. With a 4.3 yards per carry average last season, he proved he is still producing at a high level. To go with over 1,000 yards rushing he also added an eye-popping 6.9 yards per reception average. Unlike with Frank Gore being too predictable when on the field, the Bills could use Fournette in a multiple of roles.
While this years draft class appears deep at the running back position there is no rush in doing so this year. For starters, running back is one of the easiest positions to transition to the NFL game and produce early on. Secondly, late round running backs are easy to find so waiting another year isn’t prohibitive. Lastly, Singletary is the main guy and is for three more seasons so no rush there in finding a gem to become the number one back.
The Bills showed with the Stefon Diggs trade that they are “all-in” and are looking to win while quarterback Josh Allen is on his rookie deal. Given that mindset, then adding a player with the talent and skill-set of Fournette’s makes this an easy decision. Across the league the Buffalo Bills are in the conversation of having one of the best wide receiver groups and in adding Fournette you can put their running back group in that same conversation. Its your move, Beane.