BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots were awfully busy on Monday, the first day of the legal tampering window for free agency. Apparently, they’re looking to stay that way.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Patriots are “lurking” on free agent running back Leonard Fournette.

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That’s interesting on its own, sure. But it’s also fascinating because Tom Brady is actively working to keep Fournette in Tampa Bay.

The notion of a player hearing from Brady in one ear and Belichick in the other is almost too poetic to be real, but it seems as though the two pillars of the Patriots dynasty are tugging in opposite directions to sway the running back one way over the other.

Fournette, 26, was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Jaguars. He played three seasons in Jacksonville, rushing for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns while adding 134 receptions for 1,009 yards and two touchdowns in 36 games. He was cut by the Jaguars last summer and signed on with the Bucs, where he ran for 367 yards and six touchdowns and caught 36 passes for 233 yards in the regular season. In four playoff games, he ran for 300 yards and three touchdowns and caught 18 passes for 148 yards and another score. That included a Super Bowl performance with 135 yards from scrimmage (89 rushing, 46 receiving) and a rushing touchdown.

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The running back spot is not a particular area of need for the Patriots, as they have Sony Michel and Damien Harris to handle the bulk of the workload. But with James White potentially leaving in free agency, Fournette could fit with the Patriots in a dual-threat type of role.

CBSBoston.com Staff