Fournette no longer has to share the Buccaneers' backfield with Ronald Jones, who recently departed to the Chiefs in free agency, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports. Although Fournette generally drew the headlines when it came to the Buccaneers' backfield last season, the split in workload between him and Jones wasn't as drastic as might be assumed. Fournette did log 79 more regular-season carries than Jones in two fewer games in 2021, but the former only logged at least 20 rushes in a game twice all season and postseason. Third-year back Ke'Shawn Vaughn currently slots in as Fournette's primary backup for the 2022 season, and although the Vanderbilt product has shown flashes over his first two campaigns, he only has 62 career carries. That lack of experience gives him considerably less pedigree than Jones, who'd amassed 364 carries and 59 receptions during the 2019 and 2020 seasons alone before morphing into a clear complementary back back over the course of 2021.
Fournette is signing a three-year, $21 million contract with Tampa Bay, including $9 million guaranteed, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. It sounds similar to James Conner's new contract with the Cardinals, though Fournette won't get as much guaranteed money. The 2017 first-round pick turned 27 in January, a few days before the Bucs were eliminated from the playoffs. Fournette had 107 total yards and two TDs in the loss to Los Angeles, returning to the lineup after missing four games with a hamstring injury. He otherwise enjoyed a healthy season, with a 180-812-8 rushing line and 69-454-2 receiving line in 14 games. Fournette was a fantasy RB1 for much of the year, averaging 68.6 rushing yards, 34.4 receiving yards and a touchdown per week in a 10-game stretch Weeks 4-14 before injuring his hamstring. Similar production in 2022 is certainly conceivable with QB Tom Brady back for another year, though it'll partially depend on Tampa's other moves this offseason. Ronald Jones and Giovani Bernard remained free agents at the time of Fournette's signing, while Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Kenjon Barner have spots on the Bucs' offseason roster.
Fournette (hamstring) rushed 13 times for 51 yards and two touchdowns and secured all nine targets for 56 yards during the Buccaneers' 30-27 loss to the Rams in their NFC divisional-round matchup Sunday. The Buccaneers were particularly cautious about bringing Fournette back from his hamstring injury too soon, and their decision appeared to be validated with the versatile back's impressive performance. Fournette finished with the team lead in receptions on an afternoon during which the Rams often played very effective coverage and also frequently made Tom Brady uncomfortable in the pocket. Additionally, although his rushing opportunities were capped to a degree by game script, the 27-year-old also was reasonably effective when asked to carry the ball. Fournette is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year, but given the positive impact he's had over his two seasons in Tampa Bay, he should be a strong candidate to re-sign.
Fournette (hamstring) has been officially activated from IR in advance of Sunday's divisional-round game against the Rams. In a corresponding move, Tampa Bay waived Le'Veon Bell. Per Scott Smith of the team's official site, the Buccaneers didn't add Fournette to their injury report, which sets the stage for the running back to return to game action for the first time since Dec. 19. It remains to be seen how heavily Fournette will be used Sunday, but in the absence of any issues with his hamstring he should head the team's ground game versus Los Angeles, with Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard available to handle complementary/change-of-pace touches. Meanwhile, Ronald Jones is out this weekend with an ankle injury.
The Buccaneers plan to activate Fournette (hamstring) from IR ahead of Sunday's playoff game against the Rams, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. With that in mind, look for a transaction confirming this outcome to arrive prior to Saturday's deadline for such moves. Given that Ronald Jones (ankle) is out with an ankle injury, Fournette would re-join a Tampa Bay backfield that also includes Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/18||@New Orleans Saints||2||13.18|
|3||09/25||Green Bay Packers||8||14.78|
|4||10/02||Kansas City Chiefs||10||15.10|
|9||11/06||Los Angeles Rams||9||14.95|
|13||12/05||New Orleans Saints||2||13.18|
|14||12/11||@San Francisco 49ers||7||14.60|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||181||777||6||60||403||1||159|