On Friday afternoon the Jaguars made one of the biggest trades of the NFL season so far. They acquired Browns RB Carlos Hyde in exchange for a 2019 fifth round pick.
The reason for this move, for the time being, is obvious. Jaguars star second year RB Leonard Fournette has missed almost the entire season with a hamstring injury and has no timetable for a return. While the Jaguars haven't placed Fournette on IR, the acquisition of Hyde might suggest that he's further away from returning than we all expected. Hyde's 2018 statistics and career statistics won't wow you, but the expectation will be for him to add stability to a backfield that has been ravaged by injuries. He brings a similar sort of physicality to the position that Fournette does. Along with Fournette remaining sidelined, third string running back Corey Grant was placed on the IR after suffering a Lisfranc injury in the loss to the Chiefs. RB TJ Yeldon has been the Jaguars best offensive weapon this season, but he's been toughing it out with an injured ankle/foot week in and week out.
Hyde has been featured as a workhorse back at times in his career. At 28 years old, the former second round pick should still have plenty of tread on the tires. That's where the long term comes into play. Hyde's contract runs through the 2020 season, with a potential opt out after 2018. Both TJ Yeldon and Corey Grant have expiring contracts. That means if the Jaguars don't use the potential out in Hyde's contract after this season that they could have a two headed monster of Leonard Fournette and Carlos Hyde at RB. If they like what they see from aging veteran Jamaal Charles he could be in the mix too as a third down type back.
This move, while not spectacular, could be just what the Jaguars need: more stability and talent at the RB position. Whenever Fournette does return the backfield will be as talented as any in football and could be a major factor in this team competing for a playoff spot and down the stretch in the playoffs, if the Jaguars are fortunate enough to make it.
UPDATE: After passing a physical the Jaguars added Carlos Hyde to the roster, placing rookie offensive tackle Will Richarson (knee) on injured reserve.
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