Tampa Bay BuccaneersThe Buccaneers have released RB Leonard Fournette, who racked up more than 3,000 yards from scrimmage in three years with the team and set franchise playoff records in 2020Scott Smith
On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released seventh-year running back Leonard Fournette, a move that has been anticipated since the team began working on its salary cap situation for 2023. Fournette spent three successful seasons in Tampa, most notably turning in a highly productive 2020 postseason to help the Buccaneers capture the NFL championship in Super Bowl LV.
The Buccaneers signed Fournette on September 8, 2020, one week after he had been released by the Jacksonville Jaguars and just five days before the start of the regular season. He had spent three seasons in Jacksonville after arriving as the fourth-overall pick in the 2017 draft. Fournette later signed additional contracts with Tampa Bay following the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
Splitting time with Ronald Jones in the Bucs' backfield in 2020, Fournette ran for 367 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season but stepped into the starting role for the last three game when Jones landed on the COVID list. Fournette remained in the lead role for the playoffs and was one of the team's primary offensive weapons, running for 300 yards and three touchdowns and adding 18 catches for another 148 yards and a score. His rushing yards and yards from scrimmage stand as the most ever by a Buccaneer in a single postseason and his touchdowns are tied with Mike Alstott (2002) for the most. Fournette also joined Terrell Davis and Larry Fitzgerald as the only players in NFL history to score a touchdown in four straight games in a single postseason.
Fournette remained the starter in the Bucs' backfield in 2021 and for the first half of 2022 before being supplanted by Rachaad White. He led the Buccaneers in rushing in each of those two seasons and racked up a total of 2,457 yards from scrimmage along with 16 total touchdowns. In all, Fournette played in 43 games with 25 starts for the Buccaneers, amassing 3,057 yards from scrimmage and 22 scores.
With the release of Fournette, the Buccaneers have three running backs on their 2023 offseason roster: White, Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Patrick Laird. Giovani Bernard is an unrestricted free agent. They have also reportedly struck a deal with sixth-year running back Chase Edmonds, though there has been no official announcement from the team.
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