Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette reportedly has some interest from a pair of playoff contenders. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated wrote via Twitter on Wednesday that one of those teams is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The analyst called the Bucs a “serious suitor,” though he did add that nothing was close to being done just yet. However, Breer believes the team is looking to add another weapon to put at the disposal of new starting quarterback Tom Brady.
Josh Alper of NBC Sports reported that head coach Bruce Arians was asked about his club’s interest earlier in the week but was noncommittal. Arians said he was in a “wait and see” mode about Fournette. Those comments could have been colored by the fact that at the time, the running back was only waived and would require something sent to the Jaguars in return in a trade.
He has since cleared waivers and is a free agent, who can sign a brand-new contract with any team that comes calling.
The other team that has emerged as possibly being interested in Fournette is the New England Patriots. Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk wrote that Jeff Howe of The Athletic said they are interested, though it’s not yet clear whether they are ready to get into a bidding war.
That report conflicts with earlier rumors on the day that claimed the Patriots were happy to stand pat with everyone they already have in the backfield. As The Inquisitr reported previously, even the injury to Sony Michel hadn’t convinced Bill Belichick and company that they needed to go out and get Fournette.
Howe said the Pats have officially expressed interest in the free-agent, but they do have at least one other franchise who is said to be looking to pick up the fourth-year player to beef up their backfield.
The Kansas City Chiefs are also said to be interested in Fournette, though it’s thought they’re looking at him as a backup to Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It’s not clear whether the Bucs and Patriots are looking at him as a potential or for added depth.
Ronald Jones II is currently thought to be the first string running back for Tampa Bay, but he didn’t have eye-popping numbers in 2019. Last year, he ran for 724 yards and six touchdowns.
Fournette had a career-best season a year ago, rushing for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns while also catching 76 passes for another 522 yards.