Buccaneers reportedly plan to release RB Leonard Fournette on March 15
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly plan to move on from veteran running back Leonard Fournette, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The 28-year-old spent the past three seasons with the Buccaneers after playing his first three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The decision to release Fournette before June 1 will save the Buccaneers around $3.47 million but incur a dead cap hit of $5 million, per Over the Cap. The move also paves the way for second-year running back Rachaad White to take on a larger offensive role in 2023.
Fournette signed with the Buccaneers after the Jaguars waived him in the summer of 2020. He, alongside new acquisitions Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown, helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV over the Kansas City Chiefs. Fournette earned the nickname "Playoff Lenny" and then "Lombardi Lenny" that year when he became the third player in NFL history to score a touchdown in four playoff games in a single postseason.
Fournette returned to Tampa in 2021 and had an even better season with 1,266 total yards and 10 total touchdowns before he signed a three-year, $21 million deal in 2022. Fournette still managed 1,191 total yards and 6 total touchdowns this past season but finished with a league-worst 3.5 yards per rush among 35 players with at least 150 carries.
The Buccaneers' offense will go through changes this year with the departure of Brady and most of the team's offensive coaching staff. Former Seattle Seahawks assistant Dave Canales will run the offense now, but it's anyone's guess who the team's quarterback will be in 2023. The only player under contract is former second-round pick Kyle Trask, who Canales recently spoke highly of.
But at the very least, it looks like White will be the main ballcarrier for the Buccaneers this upcoming season. The rookie enjoyed a solid season: He rushed 129 times for 481 yards with one rushing touchdown and added 50 receptions for 290 yards and two receiving touchdowns.