TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Piece by piece, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reassembling an impressive array of playmakers around Tom Brady.
Free-agent running back Leonard Fournette finalized a three-year, $21 million contract with the team Wednesday, joining receivers Chris Godwin, Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman, Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen and guard Aaron Stinnie as key offensive players who’ve agreed to new deals since Brady ended his brief retirement this month.
Fournette, 27, joined the Bucs after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 and helped Brady win his seventh Super Bowl in his first season in Tampa Bay.
The No. 4 overall pick from the 2017 NFL draft is coming off one of the best all-around seasons of his career after rushing for 812 yards and eight touchdowns and finishing with 69 receptions for 454 yards and two TDs in 2021.
With Fournette and backups Ronald Jones and Giovani Bernard all testing their worth in free agency after helping the Bucs win the NFC South and set a club record for regular season wins in 2021, signing an experienced running back was a priority this offseason.
In two years with the Bucs, Fournette has started 16 of 27 regular-season games he’s played while also establishing himself as the franchise’s career leader in postseason rushing yards (351) and yards from scrimmage (555).
Fournette’s success during Tampa Bay’s 2020 Super Bowl run earned him the nickname “Playoff Lenny.” In five postseason starts with the Bucs, he’s scored six touchdowns — five rushing — and caught 27 passes from Brady.
Fournette spent the first three years of his career with the Jaguars. In 63 career regular-season games, he’s rushed for 3,810 yards and 31 TDs and caught 239 passes for another 1,696 yards and four TDs.
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