Multiple reports have confirmed that the Bucs have come to terms with running back Leonard Fournette on a new contract. Fournette has reportedly signed a 3-year, $21 million deal. The running back could earn up to $24 million as well. Fournette has spent the past two years with Tampa Bay after joining the team shortly before the start of the 2020 season.

Fournette began his career in Tampa Bay as the primary backup to Ronald Jones. Over the course of the 2020 regular season, Fournette carried the ball 97 times for 367 yards (3.8 ypc) and six touchdowns. He added 36 receptions for 233 additional yards (6.5 avg) through the air.

After Jones was injured late in the season, Fournette seized the opportunity to step into the lead back role. Once he did, Playoff-Lenny was born, followed by Lombardi Lenny. Fournette registered 64 carries for 300 yards (4.7 ypc) and three touchdowns in four playoff games. He also added 18 catches on 21 targets for 148 yds (8.2 avg) and an additional TD.

Following the 2020 season, Fournette opted to return to the Bucs on a 1-year, $3.25 million deal, despite reports of larger contracts offers from other teams. Coming out of training camp, Fournette was listed as the team’s backup running back behind Jones once again. But it did not take long for Fournette to re-establish himself as the team’s workhorse. The big back ended up playing 14 games, registering 180 carries for 812 yards (4.5 ypc) with eight touchdowns. After improving significantly as a receiver, Fournette caught 69 passes on 84 targets for 454 yards (6.6 avg) and two touchdowns.

Now Fournette returns to the team on a longer pact at a higher salary. He will undoubtedly start the 2022 season entrenched as the team’s lead back. Ke’Shawn Vaughn is currently the only other running back on the roster. Expect the Bucs to sign another pass-catching back in free agency, and probably draft one as well.

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About the Author: Joshua Queipo

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76bucsfan46
76bucsfan46
3 months ago

Congrats to Lombardi Lenny, go Bucs

Spitfire
Spitfire
3 months ago

🤷‍♂️ I mean it’s better than just Vaughn. Fournette has been decent since he learned how to catch but I feel like we could have found a younger more dynamic runner. At least we have a decent RB though. Hopefully we will still Draft one that can do it all.

fredster
fredster
Reply to  Spitfire
3 months ago

Good signing, but I agree I’d draft one too. Lenny isn’t young and missed games last year. He isn’t the most dynamic runner, but he does catch and pass protect well.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  fredster
3 months ago

He dropped like 11% of his targets two years ago, and although he improved that rate, he was 7th in the NFC in drops last year. By the way, RoJo had better drops rates both years, and he had a reputation as having stone hands, so good luck making sense of that. The idea that Fournette is a good pass catcher is a myth. In addition to that, his sub-7 yards per reception for three years running is another indicator mediocre or worse receiving work. Not saying he’s a trash receiver, but he’s by no means a particularly good one.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Drop rate is a dumb and misleading stat, what some call a drop (such as a non-catch on a contested catch), or a pass thrown when the receiver isn’t ready to catch it, which is on the quarterback, isn’t a drop. That stat obscures a receiver’s true production in terms of making catches, including contested catches, and yards. For example, during his second year in the league, Mike Evans had the highest drop rate in the league, but his catch rate for wide receivers at 50% was typical for WRs, and of course he produced one of his best seasons… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Naplesfan
hamilton
hamilton
Reply to  Spitfire
3 months ago

thats what we have the draft for.

Iowabucfan
Iowabucfan
3 months ago

Awesome!

DD1406
DD1406
3 months ago

Congrats to Lenny, he earned and deserved it- Amazing, a few weeks ago we were in ‘total rebuild’-Now, the band is once again ready to rock!

Knightrider79
Knightrider79
Reply to  DD1406
3 months ago

It’s funny how quickly it can turn around

Horse
Horse
3 months ago

Good news! This was another must sign player and glad the drama from a couple PR fans who see thru their eyes the GM and Coaches can do nothing right for the team. Congrats Lenny, you deserved your pay raise. Go Bucs!

sherb
sherb
3 months ago

Sort of wondering how much $$$ he was hoping for? That seems like a good deal for all parties

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  sherb
3 months ago

Different reports had him demanding anywhere from $12-15M. Just absurd lol.

sherb
sherb
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

That is absolutely insane… but hey shoot for the moon Lenny!

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  sherb
3 months ago

He asked to be paid as a top five running back after a season in which he was the sixth most productive running back in the league, despite missing four games due to injury … hardly insane or shooting for the moon.

chefboho
chefboho
3 months ago

Awesome! All these deals being three years deals makes me wonder how long Brady plans to play? This screams of multiple years and if we can all see the goat for two more years, I’d be beyond ecstatic. Now can we please for goodness sakes work on the defense?

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  chefboho
3 months ago

That could just be a salary cap strategy to spread out the contract over more years

Dude
Dude
3 months ago

This is great! After Lenny got hurt last year, the Bucs, and their run game struggled because defenses no longer respected the Bucs running game. I think he’s gotten better each year, and has become a more well-rounded player, even a dual threat. Good Job Licht!

ScottC543
ScottC543
3 months ago

Fournette improved tremendously in the receiving department last year. Now we need some speed at RB from the draft to spell Lenny, and to fill in when he pulls a hammy (as we all know he’s gonna do).

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  ScottC543
3 months ago

Fournette improved some in receiving, but certainly not “tremendously”. He was only targeted 47 times in 2020, and was targeted 84 times in 2021, and caught 77% and 82% respectively of those targets. What changed more than anything is that Lenny was on the field for a lot more snaps last year because he took over as starter, and defenses also began loading up on our wide receivers, forcing Brady to go much more often to short check down passes, and Fournette was by far his favorite checkdown receiver because not only did he catch the balls but he was… Read more »

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Yuck. Too much many for a solid RB. Fournette ran into a market much colder on him than anticipated. We should’ve held firm at a lower number or let him walk. He isn’t worth it. But, whatever. It is what it is I guess.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

The Bucs see it very differently. This deal makes Lenny Fournett the 11th highest paid running back, and he clearly out performed at least four of the guys above him in the top ten list, despite missing four games during the regular season. Given that Lenny was the second biggest scorer on the team last season, led the team in rushing, and was a great pass blocker for Tom Brady – possibly his biggest contribution to team wins and the fact that Tom is playing a third season with the Bucs – and was a reliable dump off receiver with… Read more »

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

Not that it’s a big difference, but that list includes Melvin Gordon, who’s currently a free agent, so it actually makes him the 10th highest paid. And who he “outperformed” is subjective, and if you’re including anyone who got hurt, then also irrelevant in that case. I’m guessing you’re counting, for example, Aaron Jones in there, because he finished with lower volume stat totals. But he was tied with Fournette with an average of 2.3 YPC after contact, and he finished well ahead of Fournette in attempts per broken tackle. He was also more efficient overall, besting him yards per… Read more »

Joseph
Joseph
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Couldn’t agree with you more this is exactly how I have felt about Fournette.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Out performed in terms of more all purpose yards and in touchdowns scored.
The Bucs and their desires, which definitely includes the GOAT’s desires which obviously included his favorite dump off receiver and best backfield blocker, are what matters to Bucs fans.

Last edited 3 months ago by Naplesfan
matador
matador
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

Agree completely with Naples. We still should add a back in the draft. And if TB12 is going to play two more years I would absolutely try to trade Trask for two 2nd round picks (or the equivalent) because otherwise we’re wasting three years of him being a cheap starter and he may or may not be a starting quality QB in this league, and we really really really need help on both lines.

Mike Pengelly
Mike Pengelly
3 months ago

Fournette…Fournette….Fournette. Who can forget the call? Here’s hoping there are lots more in 2022. Congrats, Lenny !!

Knightrider79
Knightrider79
Reply to  Mike Pengelly
3 months ago

I wish you knew how many times I’ve watched that lol

jongruden
jongruden
3 months ago

I knew he would be back he a good solid back who can catch out of back field we need some depth behind him Vaughn decent but would prefer another guy to add to roster

twspin
twspin
3 months ago

Just wondering….Will there be any money left to improve the very thing that beat us last year? DEFENSE. Just wondering……………

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  twspin
3 months ago

The defense didn’t beat us last season – jayzus, you guys just slay me. The Bucs defense was ranked no. 5 in the league last season!!!

You know, better than 27 other NFL teams. Most knowledgeable fans consider a top ten defense or offense to be pretty damned good, particularly when you rank in the top ten in both. As it was, we ranked nos. 2 and 5 last season.

But your damned coach hating narrative cannot tolerate facts, only feelings.

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

And yet the Defense and Bowles still cost us the game in the playoffs with a blitz call that not everyone heard or executed. Fact!

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  bucballer
3 months ago

And the offense didn’t score enough points to win, because the Rams scored more points than did our offense.

Team wins and losses are team affairs, not won or lost on a single unit.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

I agree that our defense is better than a lot of fans give it credit for being. But there’s no denying the following: (1) that our base pass rush doesn’t generate enough pressure on the QB without the help of blitzes. We would greatly benefit from adding one pass rushing force on the DL and a 3rd edge rusher who can get to the QB. Most great pass rushing defenses have 3 good or better pass rushing edge rushers, very consistently, going back years and years. Not all, but most. Right now, we have Shaq, and we’re HOPING Tryon can… Read more »

matador
matador
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

What beat us was TB12 not having anyone who could get open to throw to with Godwin out and AB flaking.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  twspin
3 months ago

There is, if we’re willing to spend it. We can absolutely still sign DL help. We couldn’t signed Za’Darius Smith if we’d decided to, and he just got $14M. But it does feel like we’re mostly trying to bring our own guys back at this point, which is a real bummer. We could get much better in the front 7, but we don’t appear to care to. Which is a shame. We should be going fully all in on this next year or two with Brady.

CrackerBall
CrackerBall
3 months ago

Sweet! Now we can focus on other needs in the upcoming Draft. OG, DT, DE, CB and S

Emilio
Emilio
3 months ago

Massive Overpay, but it’s not like there’s anyone on the roster. The D worries me more, especially Bowles.

bucballer
bucballer
3 months ago

We needed this. Playoff Lenny has become an important part of this offense. He knows it and Brady has faith in him. Good resigning. Now if we could get a speedy young RB in the draft.

bueller
bueller
3 months ago

I wouldn’t call 3 years “long term.” One year is definitely short term. I would have said “Bucs Re-Sign Top RB to 3-Year Deal,” or “Bucs Re-Sign Top RB.” Either is less characters than your headline and is more accurate.

plopes808
plopes808
3 months ago

I see a lot of people saying Lenny is overpriced, but I think those people underestimate the importance of chemistry…especially for a guy like TB12. While Lenny’s stats don’t jump off the page, the offense just runs better with him in it. Rojo seemed more likely to make a house call each time he touched the ball, but had trouble after contact…a spot where Lenny excelled. With the adjusted Oline, YAC may become even more important in the near future while the new line builds their own chemistry.

scubog
scubog
3 months ago

Can some of you people wait until we see the final roster come September instead of complaining about basically the same defensive group that won the Super Bowl albeit suffering a multitude of injuries? Focusing so much on, not just one game, but one play that is held up as the sole reason the Bucs lost in the playoffs is a bit short-sighted. Folks, the score was 27 to 3 until the defense got a couple of late turnovers to enable the struggling and injured offense to tie the game. Fans were hitting the exits, the escalators had to be… Read more »

matador
matador
3 months ago

This needed to happen. Nicely done by Licht.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
3 months ago

This is welcome but unsurprising news, despite Reynolds and Ledyard casting shade on a new Fournette deal with the Bucs this past week. Apparently the Bucs did not share in the shade being cast by PR writers, and also the Bucs and Fournette were not all that far apart, given that the Bucs gave him more than a 100% pay raise. That doesn’t put Lenny in the top five running back contracts range, as he said he’d like to be, but $7 million a year puts him in the top 11, right behind Saquon Barkley, who did not have anywhere… Read more »

Dman
Dman
3 months ago

RoJo signed with KC.