With Chris Carson hitting free agency, the Seattle Seahawks are exploring other options including Super Bowl champion rusher Leonard Fournette. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported the Seahawks have made a “strong offer” to the Buccaneers star running back.
“Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette is weighing an offer to remain in Tampa (Brady is recruiting him back), but the Seahawks have made a strong bid to poach him,” Breer explained on Twitter. “Stylistically, Seattle would be an interesting fit.”
It is unclear if the Seahawks would pursue signing both Fournette and Carson to have a dynamic one-two punch. The Seahawks lost Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars, so the team is expected to acquire multiple running backs whether it is through the draft or via free agency.
It sounds like the Seahawks are going to have to fend off Tom Brady who is actively recruiting Fournette to re-sign with the Bucs. Breer added that the Patriots are also “lurking” as a potential landing spot for Fournette.
“The Patriots are also lurking as another option for Leonard Fournette,” Breer noted. “Which is interesting … given who they’d be taking him from.”
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‘Playoff Lenny’ Emerged as the Bucs’ Top Running Back During the Team’s Super Bowl Run
The Buccaneers signed Fournette after the running back was released by the Jaguars and passed through waivers unclaimed prior to the start of the 2020 season. Ronald Jones began the season as the Buccaneers leading rusher, but injuries along with a battle with COVID-19 opened up the door for Fournette to get more touches. Fournette took advantage of the opportunity and became an integral part of the Bucs offense.
The former LSU standout had 64 carries for 300 yards and three touchdowns in the Bucs’ four playoff games. Fournette has also improved his pass-catching ability since arriving in the NFL. He added 18 receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown in the postseason.
Fournette nearly matched his regular-season total of 97 carries for 367 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 36 catches for 233 receiving yards in his 13 games prior to the playoffs. Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith noted the Seahawks should be targeting an offer in the $3 to $4 million range for Fournette.
“Not surprising Seahawks reportedly have made strong offer for Leonard Fournette,” Smith tweeted. “Heard after end of season that he may be a target if Chris Carson couldn’t be re-signed. …Anything more than $3-4 million per year would be too steep of a price tag IMO. If offer exceeds that, then why not just bring back Carson?”
Carroll on Seahawks Outlook for 2021: ‘We Have to Run the Ball Better’
It is not surprising that the Seahawks are looking to address running back with one of their first offseason moves. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll made it clear after the Seahawks’ playoff loss to the Rams that he wants to see the team run the ball more effectively next season.
“We have to run the ball better, not even better, we have to run it more,” Carroll noted, per Seattle 950 KJR. “We have to dictate what’s going on with the people that we’re playing, and that’s one of the ways to do that.”
It will be interesting to see if Carson is included in these plans, or if his price tag will prompt the Seahawks to look at other options like Fournette. The Seahawks indicated they would like to re-sign Carson, but it likely will depend on what offers he receives in free agency.