Gronkowski and Fournette played together for two seasons in Tampa where they won a Super Bowl and an NFC South division title. Fournette emerged as a postseason hero in 2020, but the Bucs released him in March amid his subpar play and $21 million contract. The Score’s Jordan Schultz, who recently interviewed Gronkowski, suggested the Patriots as a landing spot for Fournette.
“Lenny is an absolute tank who’s versatile to be a three-down back and make a big play when you need it the most,” Gronkowski told Schultz. “His unique skill set in the pass game at the size he is makes him a mismatch at all times.
Fournette didn’t have the greatest season running the ball in 2022 with 668 yards and three touchdowns, but he made an impact int he passing game. He tallied 73 receptions for 523 yards and three touchdowns.
“Gronk specifically mentioned that Fournette provides a certain comfort and reliability in the game’s biggest moments,” Schultz wrote. “Not only is that hard to find, but it has a domino effect on the entire offense, regardless of who’s under center.”
“Considering his elite pass-protection ability and soft hands out of the backfield, Fournette — only 28 — still brings a lot to the table at this stage in his career,” Schultz added.
Patriots Could Easily Afford Fournette
Fournette remaining unsigned isn’t a red flag as multiple high-profile running backs remain unsigned. That list includes Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, and Kareem Hunt — all of whom had contracts north of $20 million.
“The NFL’s running back market has never experienced such an immense dead zone financially,” Schultz wrote. “Ironically, running the football hasn’t been this in vogue in more than a decade, with rushing attempts across the NFL hitting an 11-year high in 2022.”
Leonard Fournette Has One Bad Memory of Patriots
If Fournette joined the Patriots, he would have to put the 2017 AFC Championship Game defeat in the review mirror. Fournette, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars that year, recalled the loss recently on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football“.
Fournette and the Jaguars looked poised for a Super Bowl birth with a 20-10 fourth quarter lead. Then-Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack caused a fumble, which could have sealed the game, but the play got blown dead before the fumble.
“Myles Jack was not down,” Fournette told the GMFB hosts. “That’s the famous quote we always say. He was not down.”
Then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led a scoring drive instead to aid a fourth-quarter rally and a 24-20 victory. Fournette notably teamed up with Brady in Tampa in 2020 along with Gronkowski two years later.