Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The Buccaneers are keeping the band together. On Friday, GM Jason Licht struck a new one-year deal with running back Leonard Fournette (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Fournette is set to earn $3.25MM with the chance to reach $4MM via incentives. Apparently, that was enough for Fournette to say no to the Seahawks and other suitors.
The former No. 4 overall pick found his way to the Bucs after the Jaguars dropped him last summer. Serving as Ronald Jones‘ backup for much of the year, Fournette shined as the starter from Week 15 onward. In the regular season, Fournette averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 13 games. He also reeled in 36 passes for 233 yards, giving him 600 all-purpose yards for the year. He saved his best for the playoffs, collecting four touchdowns and 448 yards from scrimmage in four games.
The Buccaneers’ high-powered passing offense certainly had something to do with his resurgence. With the Jaguars’, Fournette faced stacked boxes on 39% of his carries from 2017-19. In Tampa, he’s got tons of offensive weapons around him to keep defenses honest.
Some wondered if the Buccaneers would be able to keep their core in tact after their Super Bowl victory. But, in the last month, they’ve held on to Fournette, Chris Godwin, Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh, and other key pieces. Next, the Bucs will look to re-sign wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.