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Leonard Fournette: Fifth-year option not picked up

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars on Monday officially passed on exercising running back Leonard Fournette's fifth-year option.

Because Fournette was a first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft – the No. 4 selection overall – the Jaguars had until Monday to decide whether to pick up a fifth-year option on his contract for the 2021 season. The Jaguars would have paid the veteran running back $8.43 million in 2021 under that option.

While the Jaguars opted not to pick up the option, Fournette remains under contract with the team through the 2020 season. The sides can still agree to contract extension, with Fournette eligible for unrestricted free agency next offseason at the start of the NFL's 2021 League Year.

All NFL first-round selections sign four-year contracts, with the team having the option to have the player under contract for a fifth year. If a team picks up a fifth-year option, that year's salary becomes guaranteed if the player is unable to play because of injury.

Fournette, who played collegiately at Louisiana State University, has rushed for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns in three NFL seasons, including a career-high 1,152 yards with three rushing touchdowns this past season. He also caught 76 passes for 522 yards last season. He rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie in 2017.

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