NFL Free Agency Primer: Leonard Fournette

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. As the new league year approaches, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Leonard Fournette

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette endured a precipitous fall from grace in 2022. The fourth-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft and the one-time Super Bowl champion toiled thanklessly in a miserable Bucs run game, compiling 668 yards at a frustrating 3.5 yards per carry for the league's worst rushing attack. Still, he may not have been entirely to blame for the Bucs' struggles: the Bucs runners averaged a mere 3.4 yards per attempt overall. It's possible he could return to his winning ways with a better offensive line.

The Fit:

Fournette is a powerfully-built, straight-line runner who is surprisingly adept in the passing game (523 receiving yards and 6.3 yards per target in 2022). His hard-hitting, contact-heavy playstyle hasn't translated consistently in the pros, but he could still find a place on a team as a punishing complement to a more explosive, speedy back. He would make sense as a backup on a roster with a successful run game already in place, like the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys.

The Contract:

Fournette was just released from a three-year, $21 million contract, and his value has arguably never been lower: he's 28 years old and coming off a deeply ineffective season. He'll probably struggle to match the one-year, $2 million prove-it deal he signed with the Bucs in 2020. Barring a stunning late-career turnaround, his days as a starter are likely over.

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