Buccaneers: Surprise workhorse has easily earned extension

Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers need to begin extension talks with Leonard Fournette.

The run game in Tampa is not glamorous, or the focal point of the offense, but Leonard Fournette has still succeeded in everything asked of him by the Buccaneers and more in 2021.

Fournette wasn’t the flashiest back in 2020 before the playoffs, but the emergence of “Playoff Lenny” has likely dramatically changed his future with the Bucs for the better.

While he has been great this season, Fournette is still a surprise contributor in this offense. Everyone saw the offense and how well it worked with Fournette as the lead back during the playoffs, but the RB1 job still seemed like Ronald Jones’ to lose.

Well, Jones lost the job and likely any chance of staying in Tampa, and Fournette hasn’t looked back since taking over as the obvious starter.

The Bucs have been killing Fournette schematically this season, much like RoJo last season, yet he is still projected to finish the season with some impressive stats.

Fournette is on pace to finish the year with 918 yards on the ground, 72 receptions for 538 yards, and eight total touchdowns. This amounts to essentially the same production as Jones from last season on the ground, but some legitimate consistency through the air, which is arguably much more important. Just imagine what these stats would look like if the Bucs didn’t run Fournette into the jaws of the defense five times a game against nine-man boxes.

Regardless of the bad scheme choices on running downs, Fournette has flourished with his touches this season and shows no signs of slowing down. A back that can threaten between the tackles, on the outside, and through the air that isn’t a liability in pass protection is a commodity in the NFL.

The Bucs certainly don’t need to break the bank to keep Fournette in the fold, but keeping him here long-term when he has proven that he works in the system and provides consistency is the right decision at this point.

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