The Buccaneers could be in the market for a new leading running back.
Ronald Jones and the Buccaneers probably aren’t signing any extensions this offseason.This should surprise no one. The run game was good with Jones as the leading man, but the shortcomings in the passing game with Jones on the field were too egregious to overlook.
Leonard Fournette took over the starting role in the playoffs of last season and through most of the 2021 season, and the results have been very impressive.
Tampa’s most recent RB1 has reinvented his image as a leader and a do-everything guy out of the backfield, but this could hurt the Bucs in free agency.
The Buccaneers do not have much cap space coming up with numerous key free agents to bring back. Every position on the field is more valuable than a pricey running back, and Fournette asking for anything that he could find on the open market could make his asking price far too high for the Bucs to meet.
Given recent reports from Matt Lombardo, Fournette is expected to test the open market the offseason, and this is not great news for the Buccaneer offense.
We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but Fournette should easily find teams that are willing to meet his asking price; at least certainly more than what the Bucs can offer.
There is still a chance that Fournette remains, but smart money is on him suiting up for someone other than the Buccaneers next season.
Tons of teams across the league would be willing to pay a RB1 with hands. Fournette did everything right to repair his value in the eyes of the NFL outside of Jacksonville, and other teams are going to take notice.
Again, this doesn’t mean that Fournette is out for sure, but it is certainly the first step that a player takes when they are trying to get a new chance.
The Bucs are lucky for everything that Fournette brought to the table, but it looks like they will need to start preparing more seriously for a future without their starting quarterback and running back from the Super Bowl and the 2021 season.
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