The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that they will release running back Leonard Fournette ahead of the new league year, which starts March 15. With the Buccaneers well over the salary cap, this is a cost-cutting move for a player they just gave a three-year extension to last offseason. With Tom Brady's and Fournette's departures, the Buccaneers playoff chances are dwindling going into 2023.
Fournette played three seasons with the Buccaneers and was a massive part of their Super Bowl run during the 2020 season. Fournette followed that up with an impressive 2021 season, totaling nearly 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games. But his play dropped off in a big way in 2022, as he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and was benched for part of the season. It wasn't just Fournette's states that dropped off. By the end of the 2022 season, the Buccaneers Super Bowl odds and on-field production had dropped off after winning the Lombardi just two years earlier.
Going into his age-28 season, is there anything left in the tank for Leonard Fournette? And if there is, which team might be interested in signing the former No. 4 pick from the 2017 NFL Draft?
FloridaBet.com takes a stab at hypothetical odds for landing places. Here are the latest odds for where Fournette might play during the 2023 season:.
Leonard Fournette Next Team Odds
Analyzing Potential Fournette Landing Spots
The Miami Dolphins are the current favorites to land Fournette. Their top two running backs, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, are both scheduled to hit free agency this month, and the team is no doubt anxious to increase the Dolphins Super Bowl odds one year after their splash trade for WR Tyreek Hill. Fournette is a very good pass blocker and receiver, which could help quarterback Tua Tagovailoa stay on the field. However, Fournette might not be the best fit in a wide-zone rushing attack that forces running backs to make quick and decisive cuts. Instead, look for Miami to bring in smaller, shiftier backs to play in Mike McDaniel’s offense as he tries to boost the Dolphins playoff chances this season.
The Denver Broncos are an intriguing destination for Fournette as they could be without Javonte Williams to start the year. Williams suffered a torn ACL midway through the 2022 season and that means his availability for Week 1 is certainly in question. If the Broncos just need a reliable and competent starter for the first month of the season, that is a role that Fournette could fill until Williams is back on the field.
Another potential landing spot is the Philadelphia Eagles at +1120, as they are set to lose Miles Sanders in free agency. The expectation is that Kenneth Gainwell will replace him in the starting lineup, but he’s on the smaller side (201 pounds) for an every-down starter. Adding someone like Fournette to handle the short-yardage and goal-line work could make sense as Fournette isn't expected to command a big salary in free agency.
The best bet on the board is "The Field" at +215 as there are several destinations that would make sense for Fournette. It's not hard to picture him back in Jacksonville, spelling Travis Etienne in short yardage. Fournette also makes sense in New England if the Patriots move on from Damien Harris, who is scheduled to become a free agent this month. Fournette even could land in Dallas as a possible replacement for Ezekiel Elliott if they decide to release him this offseason.
Expect a heavy market for Fournette despite his dip in play over the last few years. Teams still will value his ability to convert in the red zone. Also, with 254 receptions over the previous four seasons, he can still contribute as a receiver in just about any offense. Look for Fournette to land on his feet rather quickly in free agency.