As Adam Schefter first reported, the Jaguars are bringing in veteran running back Devonta Freeman for a visit. This comes on the heels of waiving former fourth overall pick Leonard Fournette and placing Ryquell Armstead on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the second time this summer.
But does Devonta Freeman fit what the Jaguars are doing on offense?
The short answer is yes, at least from a skill set perspective.
Freeman (28) is best suited for a role in a running back by committee approach, at this point in his career. He's always been an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield and can help in pass protection as well. Freeman caught 59 passes for the Falcons in 2019 and averaged 6.9 yards per reception, the exact same average as Leonard Fournette. Throughout his career six-year career, Freeman has racked up 3,972 rushing yards, 32 rushing touchdowns, 257 receptions, 2,015 rushing yards, and 11 receiving scores. From a rushing perspective, he could still be effective behind a solid offensive line, but his 3.6 yards per carry in 2019 might be evidence of a decline in his skill set. Still, Freeman offers more lateral quickness and agility than Fournette, which is why he may be more attractive to Jay Gruden.
Now, from a money standpoint, it's not entirely clear where Freeman currently stands. He reportedly turned down a $4 million offer from the Seahawks earlier this year, and I'm not sure that the Jaguars will beat that offer. But it's possible that with the season just days away, Freeman will change his tune, as the possibility of not playing in 2020 becomes more real.
Another key factor will be what type of shape Freeman is in. It's tough to replicate practice reps, so if he doesn't appear ready to contribute early, that could create an impasse.
The Jaguars' current top three backs are Devine Ozigbo, Chris Thompson, and James Robinson. Thompson has plenty of experience with Gruden, having spent five-plus seasons with him in Washington, but will serve as more of a third-down type back. Ozigbo was a rookie who played for the Jaguars for most of the season in 2019, but didn't see much work until the final week of the season. He's had an impressive camp and is likely in the driver's seat to lead the team in carries early on in the season. Robinson is a rookie from Illinois State but has been solid in camp. Thompson raved about Robinson's vision, saying he's the best of all the Jaguars' runners in that department.
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