This happens every time an even semi-notable NFL players gets cut.
Will the Steelers sign him?
Let’s make it short, sweet, and to the point with RB Leonard Fournette.
Almost certainly not.
The Jaguars parted ways with him yesterday, their former 5th overall pick who had one bumpy ride in Duvall. Head coach Doug Marrone was transparent to a fault in discussing the move, explaining no one was buying what the Jags were selling.
Jaguars did all they could to trade RB Leonard Fournette in the spring and then again this summer. But as Jaguars’ HC Doug Marrone said today: "We couldn't get anything, a fifth, a sixth, anything. We couldn't get anything."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2020
Now that Forunette is without team, assuming no one claims him on waivers, where will he end up? Even knowing Fournette had as much success against the Steelers as anyone, there’s no reason to expect his next stop will be Pittsburgh.
Of teams he’s played against at least twice, Fournette’s 4.9 average versus Pittsburgh is better than any other opponent. He’s only had more rushing yards against AFC South rival Titans, and his three rushing scores tie Tennessee for most against any team. Most fans haven’t forgotten his 90 yard TD as a rookie to cap off a 30-9 butt-whopping the Jags put on the Steelers back in 2017.
Still, there’s no reason for Pittsburgh to think about Fournette, even if the national media believes it’s a logical landing spot. Putting the financial aspect aside, we’ll circle back to that in a moment, there’s no need to add him.
Pittsburgh has plenty of depth in the room with James Conner, Benny Snell, rookie Anthony McFarland, and one of Jaylen Samuels/Kerrith Whyte/Wendell Smallwood. Conner is a better back that Fournette when healthy and the team loves Snell, whose impressing after dropping weight for his sophomore season. Snell may not be a better player than Fournette but the two styles are so similar, Fournette isn’t adding anything to the room. Pittsburgh’s pretty solid at drafting bigger, power type backs. They don’t need to bring another into the fold.
There’s also concern over his prickly relationship with the Jags’ front office. Was that Tom Coughlin’s fault for being well, Tom Coughlin, or is Fournette really an issue in the locker room? I don’t know. But I don’t care to find out.
Cap-wise, the Steelers have little wiggle room. Yes, the cap is a lie, a myth, a farce, and I know the Chiefs assembled the ’27 Yankees with whatever they found in-between their couch cushions. But Fournette isn’t getting Patrick Mahomes money. He’s getting a short-term deal, probably just one season, and there’s no way to kick that can down the road. For a Steelers team that still needs to clear cap space, either by restructures or a Cam Heyward extension (ideally, both) taking on another contract even for relative meager salary isn’t doable.
If the Steelers running back room didn’t sport the depth it has, if the team had a little more money, maybe I’d be more in favor of the idea of bringing Fournette in. But that’s not the reality. Fournette will be in another city this season and when he’s a free agent in March and James Conner is gone, I imagine some section of the fanbase will ask if the team should sign him. See you then.