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Buccaneers Plan to Release RB Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already lost Tom Brady to retirement, and it appears they're moving on from another key member of their 2021 Super Bowl team. 

The Buccaneers will release running back Leonard Fournette on March 15 when the new league year officially begins, NFL Media reported. Fournette reportedly requested his release and the Buccaneers complied.

"I asked after the season to be [released], and they respected my wishes," Fournette told the Tampa Bay Times. "So, no bad blood."

Fournette explained that his time in Tampa Bay was tied to his legendary quarterback.

"Winning is everything," Fournette said. "That's all. And in my last three years here, that's all we've done. But since my guy (Brady) left, that's why I came, so my time here was up."

Fournette, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, signed a three-year extension to stay in Tampa Bay less than one year ago. He was fresh off a successful 2021 campaign, which included him racking up 1,266 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns in just 14 games.

>>READ: Top 150 2023 Free Agents

Last season, the former LSU star was less effective with the ball in his hands. He averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt on 189 carries, compiling 668 yards rushing and six total touchdowns. He was an asset in the passing game, hauling in a career-high 523 yards receiving on 73 receptions.

Cutting the 28-year-old will save the Buccaneers $3.47 million against their 2023 salary cap and incur $5 million in dead money as the team attempts to retool without Brady. 

Fournette will add even more running back talent to a loaded 2023 free-agent class. While teams still have time to sign an extension or franchise tag their star runners, it's possible Fournette will join fellow stars like Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders, Tony Pollard and Jamaal Williams on the open market this offseason.

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