Fournette announced Friday that he's re-signing with the Buccaneers, NFL reporter Josina Anderson reports. Fournette's return essentially finalizes Tampa Bay's efforts to keep its championship roster intact. The 26-year-old wasn't much of a factor during the regular season in 2020, with just 97 carries for 367 yards and six scores across 13 games, but he emerged as one of the Buccaneers' top offensive weapons during the playoffs. Through the team's playoff run, Fournette kept a grip on Tampa Bay's top backfield role even after Ronald Jones returned to full health, logging 448 total yards and four scores through just four games -- including 136 scrimmage yards and a TD in Super Bowl LV. If Fournette can reprise his playoff form through the 2021 regular season, he'll be a highly intriguing fantasy option, and in any case, his return is seriously damaging to the prospects of Jones and second-year back Ke'Shawn Vaughn.
Fournette and the Buccaneers haven't made much progress in contract talks, Joey Knight of The Tampa Bay Times reports. The Bucs largely have managed to keep their championship squad together, re-signing Lavonte David, Shaquil Barrett, Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh. It's still possible the team brings back Fournette and/or Antonio Brown, but the veteran running back is seemingly willing to be patient and hope for better offers.
Fournette rushed 16 times for 89 yards and a touchdown and secured all four targets for 46 yards during the Buccaneers' 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday. While Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski likely will get more press for their performances, Fournette turned in another efficient performance through both the ground and air and essentially sealed the Super Bowl win with a 27-yard touchdown scamper up the right side with 7:45 remaining. The fourth-year back took the reins of the backfield beginning with the wild-card win over Washington and kept a firm hold of the top job even with Ronald Jones healthy over the last three postseason contests. Fournette's ability as a receiver once again played a key role, as he checked in third in receptions and second in receiving yardage on the night for the Buccaneers. His strong finish during Tampa Bay's championship run may earn him a bigger payday elsewhere, but there's no question he filled a pivotal role in the team's Super Bowl title.
Fournette rushed 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown and brought in five of seven targets for 19 yards in the Buccaneers' 31-26 win over the Packers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. The fourth-year back once again paced the Buccaneers backfield, with his pass-catching skills giving him the edge over Ronald Jones (10 rushes, zero targets) in terms of playing time. Fournette also made a significant impact on the game with a 20-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, one that saw him bounce out of a pile and get into the end zone up the right side of the field. The 26-year-old has logged double-digit carries in all three of the Buccaneers' playoff games to date while also turning 17 targets into 14 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. He'll be poised for another robust role during a Super Bowl LV matchup against either the Bills or Chiefs on Sunday, Feb. 7.
Fournette rushed 17 times for 63 yards and secured five of six targets for 44 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' 30-20 divisional-round win over the Saints on Sunday. Even with Ronald Jones (quadriceps) active and taking 13 carries in his own right, Fournette served as the true lead back and turned in a second consecutive strong postseason effort. The fourth-year pro constantly ground out tough yards against a stingy Saints front, and he paced the Buccaneers in receptions while recording a clutch six-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter to even the score at 20-20. The running game figures to once again play a prominent role in the frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field in next Sunday's NFC Championship Game, meaning Fournette could be set for another busy afternoon.
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