Now that the Leonard Fournette era in Tampa Bay is over, who will the Buccaneers replace him with on the depth chart?
Another curtain has dropped in Tampa Bay, as the Buccaneers are reportedly expected to release Leonard Fournette ahead of the new league year starting on March 15th.
Playoff Lenny had one of the more memorable tenures a Buccaneers running back has turned in over the years, and gave fans more than one happy memory to hold close to their hearts once he officially packs up and leaves town.
Who can forget his run against the Packers — the birth of Playoff Lenny and precursor to Lombardi Lenny — in the NFC Championship Game back in 2020?
It’s memories like those that Bucs fans will hang onto as the team turns the page on one of the most exciting chapters in franchise history.
But as much as those memories will forever mean, an eye must be turned toward the future and what happens next. With news that Fournette will be a cap causality this offseason, the Buccaneers will be looking to replace their starting running back one way or another, and it’s yet another critical decision the team must make as it charts the course forward.
So who will replace Fournette on the Bucs depth chart next season? There are a few intriguing knee-jerk options to consider.
When the Buccaneers hired Dave Canales to be the team’s new offensive coordinator, the immediate thing everyone did was connect former Seahawks players to Tampa Bay.
Well, everyone started to connect a specific player to the Bucs: Geno Smith. Two other players made a lot more sense for a variety of reasons, one being Drew Lock and the other Rashaad Penny.
Penny has been on the wrong side of some bad injury luck throughout his career, but has shown flashes of being the first-round talent the Seahawks gambled on back in 2018. He was brought back last season on a team-friendly deal but suffered yet another injury when he broke his fibula in Week 5.
It’s hard to say what the Bucs would be getting in Penny based on his checkered injury past, but the upside seems to be there. Beyond the talent he’s shown but not yet capitalized on, Penny would be a familiar face in the locker room for Canales and be a conduit to help him install his offense in Tampa Bay. Canales used a lot of tight ends and deployed a pretty solid rushing attack in Seattle, which would mean Penny could form a Rashaad and Rachaad backfield duo that gets the new offense on track faster than it otherwise might.
Money could be the determining factor here, though.
Penny’s deal with the Seahawks last season was just over $5M, which is on the edge of being affordable. If the Bucs feel comfortable rolling with a backfield of Rachaad White and Ke’Shawn Vaugn next season, then the price for Penny might be a bit too rich for Tampa Bay’s blood.