The Jacksonville Jaguars have released Leonard Fournette and let’s be honest: who could’ve predicted that this is where Leonard Fournette and the Jaguars would be after three seasons?
Flashback to 2017 -- Fournette entered the NFL as one of the most hyped running backs of the decade and he was living up to that billing as the focal point of the Jaguars offense. The defense was stacked with six Pro Bowlers and a young nucleus set to terrify AFC opponents for years to come.
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Now, every Pro Bowl member of that defense is gone, and the team’s biggest offensive weapon during that AFC Championship run in 2017 has been released.
Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye were one of the best corner tandems in the NFL. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue provided relentless pressure up front, and Telvin Smith’s speed made him a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker. The Jaguars had it going at all three levels.
Jacksonville is rebuilding. Head coach Doug Marrone said the Jaguars tried to trade Fournette, but couldn’t get any offers.
The lack of offers is hardly a reflection on Fournette’s talent level. He’s rushed for more than 1,000 yards in two of his three seasons despite inconsistent quarterback play.
After the Jaguars declined his fifth-year option, he was making almost $4.2 million this season. That’s a sizable price for a running back who’d likely go somewhere else to split carries in a trade.
There’s a running joke that NFL stands for “not for long,” and the Jaguars just exemplified that. After going 10-6 in 2017, the Jaguars finished a combined 11-21 in the last two seasons. They’re officially closer to the first pick of 2021 pick than a playoff run this season.
Playing in the same division as the Dodgers hasn’t scared the San Diego Padres. It’s only made them more aggressive at the trade deadline.
“Slam Diego” has easily been the most active team at the deadline. The Padres have made five trades, and arguably none bigger than their latest move. Mike Clevinger was traded from the Indians to the Padres. San Diego traded away its No. 7 and No. 9 prospects, plus a slew of other young players who are either early in their MLB careers or in the low minors. It was a big haul, but that’s what it costs to get a front line starter.
The Dodgers have blown away the NL competition this season with a five-game lead over the NL Central-leading Cubs. L.A. leads baseball by outscoring its opponents by 90 runs. The Padres are the next closest NL team, with a plus-37 run differential.
However, the Padres are hot. They are 10-3 in their last 13 games. Plus, they’ve been on the Dodgers’ heels in head-to-head matchups. L.A. is 4-3 against the Padres, but 12-5 against the rest of the NL West.
San Diego, which hasn’t made the postseason since 2006 and haven’t won a playoff series since 1998. is going for it all. You don’t make that many trades unless you want to win a World Series. It’ll be fun to see if the risk was worth the reward.
The first round of the Western Conference playoffs offered a bevy of storylines. Luka Doncic was making his playoff debut against the Clippers, Damian Lillard and the red-hot Blazers vs. LeBron James and the Lakers, and the Chris Paul-Russell Westbrook trade led to a Houston-Oklahoma City matchup.
The Nuggets-Jazz series was arguably the least talked about, but it has been one of the the most entertaining matchups due to the emergence of Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell.
Before 2020, only Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson had multiple 50-point games in one series. Murray and Mitchell accomplished the feat playing against each other.