Leonard Fournette signs four-year, $27.1 million rookie contract with Jaguars

The Jaguars signed first-round draft pick Leonard Fournette to a four-year contract on Wednesday that makes him the NFL’s highest-paid running back in terms of guaranteed money.


A league source told the Times-Union that Fournette’s contract is fully guaranteed, meaning he will be paid $27.1 million, which includes a $17.8 million signing bonus, by the Jaguars even if he is not with the team for the entire life of the deal.

Fournette’s guarantee eclipses the $24.9 million that was guaranteed to Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott, who was the fourth pick in last year’s draft. Fournette’s contract also makes him the NFL’s highest-paid running back in terms of guaranteed money. After Elliott, Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy ranks third ($18.3 million), followed by Carolina rookie Christian McCaffrey ($17.2 million) and Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ($15 million).

“Throughout this whole process you still have to go out there and work hard, but the only thing about it is you are working for money now,” Fournette said. “Your mindset doesn’t have to change. Money is money, but at the end of the day, you come here to win. You come here to get better, to make the team better and make the whole foundation better. That is my main focus.”

During general manager Dave Caldwell’s tenure since 2013, the Jaguars have fully guaranteed the rookie contracts of each of their first-round picks, which included left offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, quarterback Blake Bortles, defensive end Dante Fowler and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

All were signed well ahead of their respective training camp dates.

With Fournette’s signing, the only remaining unsigned Jaguars’ 2017 draft picks are second-round pick Cam Robinson and third-rounder Dawuane Smoot. Like Fournette, fourth-round wide receiver Dede Westbrook, fifth-round linebacker Blair Brown, and seventh-round picks cornerback Jalen Myrick and fullback Marquez Williams have all signed their four-year rookie contracts.

At LSU, Fournette rushed for 3,830 career rushing yards, which ranked as the fourth highest in school history, and scored 42 touchdowns. Fournette also set or tied 23 different school records at LSU, including eight single-season records, five single-game records and seven bowl records.

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said Fournette came to the team’s three-day rookie minicamp this past weekend in good shape, and cited his ability to move well in drills, pass-catching ability and being able to retain terminology in the Jaguars’ scaled-back offensive playbook. It’s virtually a given that Fournette is expected to be the Week 1 starter at tailback against the Houston Texans on Sept. 10 at NRG Stadium.

“There’s a confidence about him, but it’s not cockiness,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said after Saturday’s rookie minicamp