Buccaneers Sign Leonard Fournette, Give Tom Brady Another Weapon

Getty Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette

The Buccaneers are bringing in Leonard Fournette, signing the running back to a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.

Earlier in the week, Bruce Arians gave a surprisingly cavalier response when asked about the possibility of adding Fournette. “We’ll wait and see. He’s been a good player. We have to see where he fits,” Arians said.

Fournette, who was the No. 4 overall pick back in 2017, apparently fits right in.


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Other Teams Had Interest in Fournette

“Several teams” were pushing to add Fournette prior to the Buccaneers locking him down. The Patriots were one of those teams, as Pro Football Action relayed. New England has a cluster of backs in their backfield led by former first-rounder Sony Michel, though a talent like Fournette made them consider life with the former LSU star.

Leonard reportedly wanted a trade from Jacksonville this offseason and at the time, the Jaguars discussed the running back with other clubs. Fournette’s value on the trade market wasn’t great and no trade materialized, leading to his release less than two weeks before the start of the NFL season.

Fournette was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He has played in 36 of a possible 48 games over the past three years, accumulating 2631 yards on 4.3 yards per carry. The 25-year-old has 17 touchdowns in his career.


Buccaneers’ Running Back Situation

The Buccaneers have a full roster of running backs with Ronald Jones II as the lead back in the offense. The former USC Trojan could be a league-winner in fantasy, as Pro Football Action explains, and on the field, he could be the guy that Tampa counts on to keep the offense going as they look to keep Brady from overextending his game.

Jones has been getting a ton of hype during Buccaneers’ camp, though if the team inks Fournette, the optimism would dampen. Fournette proved to be a contributor in the passing game in 2019, catching 76 balls. Jones has been working on his pass-catching skills in hopes of getting more out of that area of the game. Tom Brady, who’s has made stars out of pass-catching backs in the past, has been giving Jones tips since camp started.

“He always tells me to get low in my routes and run my routes like I already have the ball,” Jones said, via the team’s website. “A lot of times I was trying to get a feel for the defense, if it was zone or man. I’m working on getting that pre-snap read and then just exploding through my routes, just finishing. I think that’s been what we’ve been working on now just in the shorts and stuff.”

Behind Jones is LeSean McCoy, who signed a one-year deal with the franchise this offseason, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, whom the team drafted in the third round of the 2020 draft. Dare Ogunbowale and Raymond Calais round out the roster, though neither are locks to make the team.

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