Another massive free agent signing has occurred for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they add running back Leonard Fournette to bolster their backfield.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially become the free agent destination in the NFL. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski were huge, and Leonard Fournette is not an addition to overlook.
The backfield in Tampa Bay has been weak for years, and the Fournette signing officially brings the Buccaneers into the forefront of the NFL with their running back talent.
Fournette is leaving his best year behind in Jacksonville, and will hope to continue his positive transformation in Tampa. Last season, Fournette averaged 4.3 yards per carry for 1,152 rushing yards and also had 522 receiving yards on 76 receptions.
Tampa Bay now has a proven back between the tackles that is also a threat in the air and in pass protection. This news will have significant ramifications for the other backs on the roster, but the improvement is undeniable.
The Buccaneers will presumably keep Ronald Jones on the roster to split reps with Fournette, but every other player could be on the chopping block. Even rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn is not protected by his third-round draft status.
Bruce Arians and the rest of the coaching staff have made it clear that they are done waiting on running backs to pan out, and are now going in the far more proven direction of Fournette.
This signing immediately helps both parties out. Fournette has played well against stacked boxes for the majority of his career, a defensive strategy that is impossible to utilize against Tom Brady and the spectacular Buccaneer receiving corps, and Tampa Bay now has a proven workhorse back that could shoulder the carries if need be.
It may have looked like the job was Ronald Jones’ to keep, but Fournette complicates those matters greatly as far as a starting job is concerned. Even if Fournette does play as a backup, Jones will still lose out on touches from this move.
Regardless of what the original plan was, the Bucs have gotten better, and the reoccurring theme of this offseason continues.