JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Leonard Fournette has an idea of how to make the Jacksonville Jaguars much better in 2020: Sign Cam Newton.
The running back had said on social media he wanted the team to sign the free-agent quarterback, who was cut by Carolina on March 24 after nine seasons. He said it again Thursday during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take, stressing that Newton’s experience would make a huge difference in a Jaguars offense that averaged just 18.8 points per game last season.
“Cam went to the Super Bowl,” Fournette said. “He’s a great guy. I’ve been knowing Cam for a minute now. And like I told some people that talked to me, it’s no disrespect to [Gardner Minshew]. I’m just trying to get in the best position as a team as we can [to] win.
“That’s all that was about. Just friendly competition ’cause that brings out the best in people.”
Minshew set Jaguars rookie records in passing yards (3,271) and passing touchdowns (21). He had the best passer rating (91.2) and fewest interceptions (six) of any rookie quarterback in 2019. The team traded Nick Foles to Chicago on March 24, which leaves Minshew as the only quarterback on the roster with game experience.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell said Thursday during a news conference ahead of next week’s NFL draft that the team will add another quarterback to go along with Minshew and backup Josh Dobbs; that could come via the draft or free agency. Marrone, however, said he was confident in Minshew as the starter in 2020.
“Right now if we went to play, Gardner Minshew’s our guy and I’m excited about that,” Marrone said. “But do I want competition for him? Absolutely. You want competition for everyone, though. I don’t want to make it where I’m answering this question and [people are saying], ‘Marrone’s not as confident [in Minshew].’
“I want [competition] not just for the quarterback but I want competition for everyone.”
Multiple mock drafts over the past month have had the Jaguars taking a quarterback with the ninth overall pick. Todd McShay’s latest mock draft had them taking Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, and led Carolina to three consecutive NFC South titles (2013-15) and an appearance in Super Bowl 50. Newton, who turns 31 next month, was league MVP in 2015 and was named to three Pro Bowls.
He also battled significant shoulder and foot injuries over the past three seasons, undergoing multiple surgeries on his shoulder. The Panthers released him last month and signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year contract.