Patriots Meeting With Leonard Fournette, Working Out Malcolm Butler

Two notable names are in Foxborough today. Free agent running back Leonard Fournette is visiting the Patriots, per ESPN’s Field Yates (Twitter link). 

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Fournette, 27, spent the past two seasons in Tampa Bay after three seasons with the Jaguars. He took on a much larger role in his second year with the Bucs, receiving 249 touches compared to 133 the previous campaign. He totalled 812 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, adding 69 catches for 454 yards and another two scores in the passing game.

The former fourth-overall pick would represent a significant addition to the Patriots’ run game. While New England ranked eighth in the league in rushing last season, Fournette’s pedigree and production would help strengthen the position group, currently headed by Damien Harris and Rhamondre StevensonOn the other hand, Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times notes that the Buccaneers “would love” to retain the former LSU star (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe reports that the team is working out former cornerback Malcolm ButlerThe 32-year-old didn’t play in 2021, having walked away from the Cardinals near the beginning of the season due to personal reasons, but he took a step towards a comeback by visiting the Texans earlier this month.

Butler spent his first four seasons with the Patriots, a stretch which included two Super Bowl victories and his only Pro Bowl appearance. That earned him a big payday courtesy of Tennessee, where he played for three years. His final campaign with the Titans was highly productive – 100 tackles, four interceptions and 14 pass breakups – but he was released in a cost-cutting move.

Butler would likely help fill the void left by the free agency departure of J.C. Jackson in the Patriots’ secondary. If he and/or Fournette were to land in New England, they would mark significant moves in what has been a relatively quiet offseason so far for the team.

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