The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are planning to release running back Leonard Fournette when the new league year begins on March 15.
The #Bucs plan to release RB Leonard Fournette when the new league year begins March 15, per sources.
GM Jason Licht mentioned recently that he felt Fournette was still a three-down back in this league. “Lombardi Lenny” is still only 28 and has plenty in the tank. pic.twitter.com/KMHiGSfG9L
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 28, 2023
Leonard Fournette joined the Buccaneers in August 2020, after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, his previous team. Despite being a backup to Ronald Jones for most of the 2020 regular season, Fournette stepped up during the playoffs, becoming a vital contributor to the team’s success. He rushed for 448 yards and four touchdowns in the postseason, including a touchdown in the Super Bowl, which the Buccaneers won 31-9 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
So why are the Buccaneers planning to release Fournette now?
There are several factors that might have contributed to the decision. First, Fournette’s salary is a significant consideration. He signed a three year extension after the Super Bowl victory and was slated to be on the last year of that deal this upcoming season.
Second, the Buccaneers have several other talented running backs on their roster, including Rachaad White who was picked in the third round in last year’s NFL draft. White was the starter for a few games in place of Fournette. While Fournette was an important contributor last season, the Buccaneers might feel that they have enough depth at the position to let him go.
While Fournette’s departure might be a loss for the team, the Buccaneers have the talent and depth to overcome it and continue their winning ways. Even though they will make plenty of changes this offseason, they could still be favorites to win the weak NFC South according to Florida sportsbooks.
The Buccaneers’ decision to release Leonard Fournette might come as a surprise to some fans, but it’s a move that makes sense for a couple reasons. The team is looking to free up cap space, has other talented running backs on its roster.