Bill Belichick may have his next reclamation project.
Free agent running back Leonard Fournette — the former fourth overall pick — is garnering interest from the New England Patriots, according to The Athletic. The 25-year-old was released by the Jaguars before his fourth season with the team, and cleared waivers Tuesday, with no team willing to pick up his $4 million salary this season. Jacksonville had previously failed to trade the former LSU star, once considered a generational talent at his position.
Perhaps leaning on the run game more than seasons past with the absence of Tom Brady, New England already has numerous backfield options, including former first round pick Sony Michel, three-time champion James White, veteran Rex Burkhead, former Pro Bowler Lamar Miller and 23-year-old former Alabama star Damien Harris. With dependable third down pass-catching options in White and Burkhead, Fournette could potentially replace one of the other backs in early-down situations.
Last season, Fournette rushed for a career-best 1,152 yards and 4.3 yards per carry, while scoring three touchdowns.
The Patriots have a habit of picking up reclamation projects, most recently signing 2015 MVP Cam Newton, the former Panthers quarterback who was released this offseason following a string of injuries. Newton is expected to start for New England this season, replacing franchise legend Tom Brady, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.