What if Leonard Fournette ends up signing with the Chicago Bears here soon?
According to Bovada, the NFL team with the best odds of having Fournette on their roster come Week 1 is the Bears at +265. Chicago edges out the New England Patriots at +285, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +350 and the Washington Football Team at +375. What are the chances the former No. 4 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars ends up on the Monsters of the Midway by Week 1?
Are the Chicago Bears the best fit for Leonard Fournette to end up with?
There are a few reasons the Bears make sense here. They don’t have a bell-cow back, although second-year pro David Montgomery would beg to differ. Former Jaguars starting quarterback Nick Foles is now with the Bears, as is former Jacksonville offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. In his last season with the Jaguars, Fournette emerged as a solid receiving back for the first time ever.
Schematically, Fournette could transition marvelously in head coach Matt Nagy’s system. The Bears are in win-now mode, as Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace’s team needs to push for the playoffs to ensure themselves of future job security. And let’s be real, why would Pace want another top-five pick from the 2017 NFL Draft on his roster to double-down on not being wrong?
Of the other teams with +375 or better odds, the team to keep an eye on is the Buccaneers. They have an otherwise loaded offensive, but don’t have all that much to be excited about in the ground game. That’s not to say Fournette will be a panacea to what is ailing them in the rushing attack, but him being the fourth or fifth-best offensive weapon on Tampa Bay is something to consider.
As for the Patriots, if anybody can turn Fournette into a perennial Pro Bowlers, it has to be Bill Belichick. Can you imagine a rushing attack featuring Fournette, Cam Newton, Sony Michel and James White? A ground-centric philosophical approach would perfectly complement the Patriots’ strong identity that stems from its stingy defense. Don’t back on it, but he could be a Patriot.
Then with Washington, again, ground control will be the best pathway forward for this rebuilding football team. New head coach Ron Rivera used the running game to open up the pass with Newton as his quarterback with the Carolina Panthers. So there is a decent chance Fournette ends up replacing his former LSU teammate Derrius Guice in the nation’s capital.
Fournette will have his suitors, but it’s hard to argue there is a better one for him than the Bears.