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Is it time for the team to move on from their starting RB?
The offseason is upon us and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to have many difficult decisions to make to start off this offseason. The team has many high-level free agents including Jamel Dean, Lavonte David, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and more while being over the cap by around 40 million dollars. Throw in the fact that it is far from a guarantee that Tom Brady is going to come back to the team and you have a very long and difficult offseason ahead for the Buccaneers that may require the team to move on from certain players in an effort to bolster other positions.
One player that the Bucs could look to move on from is starting RB Leonard Fournette, who just finished the first year of his three-year 21-million-dollar contract and could save the Buccaneers some money were they to move on. Fournette struggled this year running the football compared to 2021 and while still having a similar amount of carries compared to the previous year (189 in 2022, 180 in 2021), Fournette had fewer total rushing yards (668 in 2022, 812 in 2021), yards per attempt (3.5 in 2022, 4.5 in 2021), and rushing TD’s (3 in 2022, 8 in 2021).
Part of that reasoning can be because of the offensive line and all the issues they went through during the season and the injuries that Fournette suffered throughout the season as well. However, it is fair to say that Fournette did not look like the same back we have seen in previous seasons with the Buccaneers and the coaching staff took notice of it as well giving recent third-round pick Rachaad White a good amount of opportunities throughout the season as a rotational back to Fournette.
There are certainly a lot of factors that could keep Fournette in Tampa, Todd Bowles is looking to run the ball more in his second season so there is an argument to be made for keeping as many starting caliber running backs as possible and that would include Fournette in that mix. You also have the fact that Brady has developed great chemistry with Fournette during his years in Tampa and if Tom Brady were to come back to the Buccaneers, there is a likely chance that he would want Fournette to stick around as well.
But it is tough to deny that moving on from Fournette could help the Bucs save cap space and possibly get younger at the position with Rachaad White, and other RB’s they may look to add in the offseason. Only time will if the Bucs are willing to make this move, and it creates yet another difficult decision the team has on their hands moving forward.
Originally posted on Bucs Nation – All Posts