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.