BOSTON (CBS) — Leonard Fournette is available on the open market. Unsurprisingly, the New England Patriots explored the possibility of taking him aboard.
Alas, the allure of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers swayed Fournette to Tampa Bay.
On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that Patriots “expressed interest” in the recently released running back, but the report didn’t indicate that the Patriots were overly aggressive in their pursuit.
The Patriots have expressed interest in Leonard Fournette, per source. We'll see if it leads to anything. The fourth overall pick from 2017 has been a free agent for about 24 hours.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) September 2, 2020
Later on Wednesday, Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport both reported that Fournette chose Tampa as his next NFL home.
The #Bucs and RB Leonard Fournette have an agreement in principle, source said. And Tom Brady has a new RB. A big-time one.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 3, 2020
Former Jaguars’ RB Leonard Fournette is signing with the Buccaneers, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 3, 2020
Fournette was released by the Jaguars this week and cleared waivers, making him free to sign with any team he chose. The 25-year-old was the fourth overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017. He’s topped the thousand-yard mark in his two full seasons, rushing for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns on 666 rushing attempts in 36 career games. He also has four touchdowns (and 370 rushing yards) in three career playoff games, all of which came as a rookie in 2017.
The Patriots do have a fairly deep crew of running backs, with Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Lamar Miller and J.J. Taylor all vying for roles in the backfield behind (presumably) Cam Newton, so their need at running back wasn’t overly glaring.