Leonard Fournette may not even start for the Buccaneers

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Leonard Fournette apparently needs to earn his starter’s reps after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Earlier this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars chose to release former 2017 fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette. The team is obviously trying to tank in 2020 for the opportunity to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but there were reports of Fournette having issues in the locker room, forcing the team to cut him.

The running back didn’t have to go far, as he agreed to a one-year deal with the NFL’s version of the Golden State Warriors in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As it turns out, his name value doesn’t equate to winning the starting job.

While speaking with the media on Thursday, Buccaneers’ head coach Bruce Arians says that Ronald Jones is still the starting running back, despite the addition of Fournette.

“It’s his job,” Arians said of Jones. “Nothing has changed for him. It’s his job, he’s got it, he’s got to screw it up to lose it and I don’t see that happening.”

The collective sigh you just heard was from fantasy football owners who selected Jones in their respective drafts. Meanwhile, those who drafted Fournette threw an inanimate object across the room.

Ronald Jones will try to hold on to the starting running back job after the Buccaneers signed Leonard Fournette

Prior to Wednesday evening, the Buccaneers boasted an already crowded running back depth chart. Jones was the assumed starter, with veteran LeSean McCoy expected to take up the major backup role and Dare Ogunbowale listed as the No. 3 rusher. Oh, and the team used two NFL Draft picks this year on Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn Louisiana-Lafayette’s Raymond Calais. Now, they add Fournette to the mix.

While Arians is openly expressing his confidence in Jones as the starter, that’s not to say that the veteran coach could change his mind during the season and potentially place Fournette at the top of the depth chart.

Last season, Fournette rushed for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns on 265 carries with the Jaguars last season. Yet, Jones showed that he’s worthy of the starting role in 2019, as he rushed for 724 yards and six scores on 172 attempts.

Related Story. Buccaneers expect Ronald Jones to step up in 2020. light

The upcoming season is an important one for the Buccaneers. They committed $50 million for the next two years to quarterback Tom Brady, in hopes of him bringing the franchise to their first playoff appearance since 2007. The wide receiver corps is one of the best in the league with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin leading the way. Tampa’s only area of concern was at running back, but now it’s fortified with Fournette in the rotation.

Arians will ride the hot hand, whoever that is.