Could Buccaneers bring back Leonard Fournette after Chase Edmonds injury?

Why not bring Lenny back and see what he can do with a better run game?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Pittsburgh Steelers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off to a hot 2-0 start, not everything is going perfectly.

On Monday the team announced that running back Chase Edmonds had sprained his MCL and will miss the next 4-6 weeks. With Edmonds likely heading to IR, the Bucs are being forced to juggle the depth chart to try and find a replacement.

Edmonds is the Bucs RB3, so it’s not as devestating a loss as it could have been. Still, Edmonds has impressed in the action he’s seen so far this year, and Dave Canales was quietly working on getting him more involved in the offense.

Sean Tucker stepped into the RB2 role after an impressive training camp and appears to be locked in as Rachaad White’s sidekick in the backfield. That doesn’t mean the Bucs should simply roll the dice with those two and hope for the best. Tampa Bay’s run game got off to a slow start in Week 1, a struggle that is exponentially more notable when considering how bad things were last year.

While White and Tucker are a dynamic duo, losing Edmonds might afford the team an opportunity to bring in a familiar face for another crack at making an impact.

Could Bucs bring back Leonard Fournette after Chase Edmonds injury?

As part of the widespread cost cutting the Bucs needed to do this offseason, Leonard Fournette found himself out of a job and on the free agent market. It was a mutual decision, as the running back reportedly asked the Bucs for a released after Tom Brady announced his retirement in February.

With the Bucs needing to find a way to shed $55 million, letting Fournette go was not a hard business decision to make.

Fournette was likely hoping to cash in on his mercenary status and catch on with a Super Bowl contending team. Despite all that he did to help the Buccaneers win a championship, Fournette entered the market at the absolute worst time as this offseason was a reckoning for running backs.

Not long after Fournette was released, the market became oversaturated with intriguing talent. Dallas cut Ezekiel Elliott and the Minnesota Vikings eventually let Dalvin Cook go to save money. These two backs were instantly thrust into the same conversation as Fournette and competed for the jobs it appeared he might have been in line for.

During the offseason, he worked out with the Patriots only to watch them soon sign Zeke, and any hopes of doing what he did for Tom Brady with Aaron Rodgers in New York were dashed when Cook filled that role. Even with potential options popping up in New Orleans, Cleveland, and Green Bay, Fournette is still behind Kareem Hunt on most radars.

Fournette needs a job and the Bucs need a running back -- it's not exactly a Hallmark movie but it's the perfect opportunity for a reunion.

If we're not going to hold last season against Rachaad White, then the same should apply to Fournette. He was abysmal last season, but let's remember the back he was for the other two years he was in Tampa Bay with specific attention on his 2021 campaign. That year Lenny rushed for almost 1,000 yards and averaged almost five yards per carry, while also finding the endzone eight times. Over the course of his first two years in Tampa Bay he averaged 43.5 yards per game, racked up 1,284 yards, and scored 16 times -- all in an offense that wasn't exactly perfect for large stretches.

What Fournette brings is something the Bucs lack -- a burly running back. The idea of Lenny's style complementing White seemed great on paper last year but the horrible application by Byron Leftwich soured the whole thing.

White is getting an exciting second chance with Dave Canales and Skip Peete, so imagine what Fournette could do with that coaching?

If the ultimate goal for Fournette is to get paid, his best option might be to return to the Bucs and put in some work with Canales and Peete. Both guys have a history of helping running backs become household names, and they could provide Lenny with the push he needs to put him in the place he thought he might be whe he left this offseason.

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