The Jacksonville Jaguars want to build on 2017, so cutting running back Chris Ivory was an easy move.
With Leonard Fournette being drafted highly last April and taking over as a rookie, and with better backup alternatives on the roster, the Jacksonville Jaguars were sure to cut Chris Ivory this offseason. On Friday the move became official, with the team announcing the release of the nearly 30-year old running back.
After topping 1,000 yards with the New York Jets in 2015, Ivory signed a five-year, $32 million free agent deal with the Jaguars in 2016. He had 112 carries for 382 yards and one touchdown last season, along with 21 receptions for 175 yards and another score. He started three games in Fournette’s place, totaling 159 yards on 54 carries in those games. Over two seasons in Jacksonville, even with being a healthy scratch late last season, Ivory maintained his reputation with seven missed games due to injury.
The Jaguars will clear just over $3.6 million in cap space by cutting Ivory, but they’ll be left with $3.25 million in dead money for 2018. They could have cleared a little more salary cap space ($5.9 million) and been left with less dead money ($1 million) by making Ivory a post-June 1 cut. But in the grand scheme of things, $2.3 million or so either way is not enough to make keeping him worth it.
T.J Yeldon (116 receptions in three seasons) and Corey Grant (6.6 yards per carry over the last two seasons) will now step in as Fournette’s primary backups. Fournette dealt with some nagging injuries on his way to finishing eighth in the league in rushing (1,040 yards,) with nine touchdowns on the ground (tied for third in the league) over 13 games in 2017. So Yeldon and/or Grant should be ready to make a spot start or two next season.
Despite turning 30 on March 22, and what that generally means for a running back’s shelf life, Ivory should land on his feet somewhere as a No. 2 running back.