Buccaneers: How recent news impacts running back room in 2021

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Nothing is guaranteed for the Buccaneers running backs.

As the rest of the NFL is trying to figure out how they can transform their teams like the Buccaneers did last season, Tampa Bay is in a luxury position for the time being.

Other teams are trying to secure offensive linemen, pass-rushers, and quarterbacks while the Buccaneers can spend all of their time negotiating with running backs. Running back is still the easiest position in the sport to replace and is also the one where paying one comes as the absolute last move that any team needs to make.

Fortunately for the Bucs and their front office, they could find a way to make their backfield one of the best in the NFL with a few smart moves.

The Buccaneers will make some moves at running back soon

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First off, LeSean McCoy is almost assuredly done in Tampa. Very little can happen to change this, and the Bucs don’t require a veteran like him at the position any longer. The rest of the unit is a complete question mark.

Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn look like the only locks to return next year. Both are under contract and are relatively cheap, and the Buccaneers will want to figure out what they have in two players that they invested priority draft picks on. Although, this could change as well.

Leonard Fournette is another name that fans have kept close eyes on, but his future in Tampa is hard to nail down.

According to Albert Breer on Twitter, the Buccaneers made an offer for Fournette to remain in Tampa last week. Fournette also had an offer to play in Seattle, but the Seahawks have since re-signed Chris Carson, and this deal could fall through as a result.

The Seahawks, who love to run the ball, could find plenty of use in a Carson-Fournette backfield, but we will have to wait and see what Playoff Lenny decides.

While the Buccaneers did make Fournette an offer, one has to imagine that it was not an attractive one considering the lack of any movement. Tampa Bay doesn’t need Fournette, and they certainly can’t afford to pay him what he deserves.

The Buccaneer backfield was good on the ground in 2020, but it struggled through the air greatly. With two backs for sure on the roster that can’t catch, Tampa needs to bring in at least one proven pass-catcher, but two makes much more sense.

Instead of re-signing Fournette, the Bucs could afford to give James White even more money. White brings a much more diverse skillset that would mesh well in the current offense. The Buccaneers have already inquired about White, and that would leave two young backs on the ground and White as the third-down option with space for a draft pick.

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This seems like the best plan moving forward, but the Bucs have plenty of decisions to make with the unit. If Fournette does decide to return, would he retain the lead duties? Could the Buccaneers try to trade Jones or cut Vaughn? Both of those seem like terrible ideas, but the decision does come down to Brady and who he is most comfortable with.

Regardless of the decisions made, we can all rest assured that the Buccaneer running back room will be better in 2021 than it was in 2020, and that’s saying something.

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