Leonard Fournette Rumors: Seahawks, Bucs Made Contract Offers; Patriots Linked

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette sprints to the end zone to score on a 27-yard touchdown run during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots are reportedly the top contenders for free-agent running back Leonard Fournette.

Albert Breer of The MMQB reported Tuesday that Tom Brady has been "recruiting" Fournette to rejoin the fold after their Super Bowl LV victory, but the Seahawks have made a "strong bid" to sign him. The Patriots are seen as "lurking" in the mix; it's unclear if they've made a formal offer.

Fournette rushed for 367 yards and six touchdowns in 2020, adding 36 receptions for 233 yards. While he largely took a backseat to Ronald Jones II during the regular season—even being a healthy inactive in Week 14—Fournette was a star during Tampa's playoff run.

Nicknamed Playoff Lenny, Fournette rushed for 300 yards and three touchdowns and had 18 receptions for 148 yards and a score alone in Tampa's four playoff games.

The postseason run exponentially increased Fournette's value on the open market. Had Jones been healthy and effective in the playoffs, it's likely Fournette would have been looking at a one-year contract from a team where he'd enter camp as a backup.

The Bucs, Seahawks and Patriots likely would view Fournette as a starter now—or at least someone who can work in a 50-50 timeshare. Jones is still under contract in Tampa and was the more effective back for most of 2020, so it's likely a return would lead to them splitting work down the middle.

If Fournette wants to be the unquestioned starter heading into camp, he'll likely be headed elsewhere in the coming days.