The move ends a tumultuous three-year run in which Fournette rushed for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Jaguars didn’t pick up his fifth-year option during the offseason and actively pursued a trade without receiving any serious offers.
“At the end of the day, I just felt that was the best decision for us as a team,” coach Doug Marrone told reporters. “I think it gives us the best opportunity, with the skill sets that we have with the other players in there, I just thought that that was the best for the team.
“… We exhausted all trade opportunities. We weren’t able to get anything there.”
Marrone said it was strictly an on-field decision to waive Fournette.
If Fournette clears waivers, he would become a free agent. He is due $4.17 million in salary this season if a team claims him.
Fournette, 25, was the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He was the first draft pick made by Tom Coughlin, the team’s former executive vice president of football operations. Coughlin wanted to build the team around a power-run game and dominant defense, and though that worked in 2017, when the Jaguars reached the AFC Championship Game, things didn’t always go smoothly between Fournette and the team.
Fournette’s tenure in Jacksonville took a turn in 2018, which ended up being the worst season of the former LSU star’s football life. There were injuries and a suspension, and he was on the bench in crunch time. He was fined, criticized and admittedly not in ideal shape late in the year.
The Jaguars voided the remaining guarantees in his rookie contract following his one-game suspension for fighting with Buffalo Bills linebacker Shaq Lawson, and Coughlin ripped Fournette for being “disrespectful” and “selfish” for sitting on the bench — while injured and inactive — during the season finale.
Adding to the chaos, Fournette was arrested in April 2019 for driving with a suspended license.
He responded in 2019 with a career season in which he topped 1,600 yards from scrimmage in 15 games, rushing 265 times for 1,152 yards and catching 76 passes for 522 yards.
It’s the Jaguars’ second major move in the past two days, as sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday that Jacksonville had agreed to trade franchise defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings for a pair of draft picks.
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco and The Associated Press contributed to this report.