The Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, to this point in the offseason, haven’t once wavered from their intention of bringing back as many of their own free agents as possible. Chris Godwin, Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Succop and Ndamukong Suh—all top-priority free agents—agreed to deals that will keep them in Tampa Bay.
Now, you can check another one off the list. Leonard Fournette is no longer a free agent and will reportedly be returning to the Bucs for a second season after his first culminated with him earning the nickname “Lombardi Lenny.”
The team has signed Fournette to a one-year deal for $3.25 million, though it can be worth up to $4 million, as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The full deal for the #Bucs and RB Leonard Fournette: It’s a 1-year deal worth $3.25M with a chance to make $4M including incentives. It took a while, but it ended as it should — with Fournette back in TB.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 26, 2021
Considering the production Fournette provided—especially in the postseason—the Bucs getting him back on such an affordable deal is an excellent move. After being cut by the Jaguars at the end of last summer, Fournette came to Tampa and worked in backfield duo with Ronald Jones II. The former No. 4 overall pick may have had ups and downs in the regular season, finishing with 367 yards and six touchdowns on 97 carries in addition to catching 36 passes for 233 yards, but his form in the playoffs was nothing short of phenomenal.
With his number called to start in the NFC Wild Card Round after Jones suffered an injury, Fournette ran for 93 yards and a touchdown while catching four passes for 39 yards. His run didn’t stop there, though, as he continued to make an impact week after week. Against the Saints in the NFC Divisional Round, he finished with 107 total yards and caught a touchdown. Then, he came through with a memorable touchdown run (and 74 total yards) in the Bucs’ NFC Championship Game win over the Packers. To finish things off and officially become “Lombardi Lenny,” he ran for 89 yards and a touchdown (while adding 46 receiving yards) in the Super Bowl. After being a healthy scratch late in the regular season, doing what he did in the playoffs made for a pretty impressive rebound.
Now, Fournette returns to remain in a backfield partnership with Jones as the Bucs go for two. He maintained all along that he was hoping to stay in Tampa Bay and after fielding some offers and attracting interest elsewhere, he’s staying in the red, pewter and white.