Talk about falling up. After being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars just before the season, Leonard Fournette landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He wasn’t heavily used during the regular season though, with 97 carries in 13 games. In hindsight, that may have all been part of a plan if Fournette was willing to stay on board. After being a healthy scratch in Week 14, he was not happy. Head coach Bruce Arians said Fournette was nearly cut when he subsequently complained about his usage.
As the Buccaneers made their run to a Super Bowl win, Fournette became “Playoff Lenny.” If four postseason games he topped 100 total yards three times, with 300 rushing yards on 64 carries (4.7 yards per carry), 18 catches and four total touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).
Among the bundle of free agents the Buccaneers have to consider whether to keep or not, Fournette feels like one of the most likely to leave. He has rehabbed his value, at 26 years old coming off a season of light usage.
Mike Tagliere of Fantasy Pros has taken a look at some free agents and possible landing spots for them. Here’s what he wrote about Fournette.
Playing the way he did in the playoffs likely earned Fournette another contract in the NFL. If we based everything on how he looked during the regular season, he would’ve been likely looking at a one-year, $2 million deal somewhere. Heck, he still might considering the cap issues and fact that there are better running backs available. He’s someone who might have a better shot of winding up as a workhorse on a team who’s strapped for cash rather than one of the other high-priced free agents who will likely go to teams with plenty of cap space. Did his play in the playoffs make him too expensive for teams like the Falcons and Steelers?
Top Potential Suitors: Falcons, Steelers, Bills, Seahawks
Is Fournette A Fit For The Seahawks?
The Seahawks seem ready to let Chris Carson leave, via Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic, as he hits free agency himself. Head coach Pete Carroll wants to keep a strong commitment to running the ball. Internally, there are question marks in the backfield if Carson is gone (Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas). So Fournette makes a lot of sense for Seattle, at the right price.
Fournette has tended to come off as a back with a throwback, one-trick pony skill set. The volume he got as a pass catcher in 2019 for the Jaguars (100 targets, 76 catches) did nothing to quell that, with deeper metrics that were below par. He followed with 36 catches for the Buccaneers during the regular season in 2020, and the aforementioned 18 catches in the playoffs. He was again not all that dynamic as a pass receiver, so Alvin Kamara he’s not. But the last two years have shown Fournette can handle some volume in the passing game. With what they’re going to be able to spend, the Seahawks can do a lot worse.