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Fournette campaigns for Jaguars to sign Cam Newton

Leonard Fournette doesn't have anything against Gardner Minshew -- he just knows an opportunity when he sees one.

The running back campaigned for his Cam Newton-to-Jacksonville dream during a Thursday appearance on ESPN and explained it's not personal, it's just about winning.

"Cam went to the Super Bowl, you know, he's a great guy," Fournette said. "I've been knowing Cam for a minute now. Like I told some people that talked to me, I told them it's no disrespect to [Gardner] Minshew. I'm just trying to get in the best position as a team so that we can win. That's all that was about, just a friendly competition, because, you know, that brings out the best in people."

A year ago, the Jaguars were admitting defeat in saying goodbye to Blake Bortles and signing Nick Foles to a lucrative deal. That plan backfired because of a collarbone injury that robbed Foles of the majority of his season and undercut his chances of getting into a rhythm with his new team, and while he was gone, his sixth-round pick of a backup wowed fans and the front office enough to eventually take Foles' job altogether.

Minshew's performance gave the Jaguars' front office the confidence it needed to send Foles packing to Chicago and free the team of most of Foles' hefty contract, the latter being especially important with the Jaguars going young.

Such a youth movement will rely on Jacksonville nailing its picks. Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell echoed that goal Thursday, saying the team is entering next week's draft with a philosophy that says the Jags "need to hit on all 12 (picks)."

Newton could help bring those picks along, too, if he was in Jacksonville's locker room.

"Whoo, that's a lot," Fournette said when asked what it will take for the Jaguars to again become contenders. "We have to get some for sure picks in the draft, have some guys that's gonna come in and be ready to play for us and also for the older guys like myself, mentor, lead them the right way and just show them the ropes. I think everything else will take care of itself."

Trades of Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye, which preceded the Foles trade, signaled the direction in which these Jaguars were proceeding following the in-season departure of executive Tom Coughlin. Signing Newton might seem like a step in the opposite direction, though -- unless it's a financially friendly deal.

With teams unable to meet with and closely examine Newton's health -- the main sticking point of any potential deal with the 30-year-old -- due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we're forced to wait for any movement in relation to the quarterback, who hasn't been his former MVP self for most of the last two seasons. It seems as if that lack of movement will likely continue into the next month for Newton, even as he posts his grayscale workouts on the 'Gram.

With or without Newton, Fournette's Jaguars will have to build on their late-season momentum that helped Doug Marrone keep his job. Right now, that looks to be something they'll attempt to do with Minshew trotting out with the starters.

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