Leonard Fournette was going to play for the Patriots, but Tom Brady talked him into staying with the Buccaneers instead
Leonard Fournette visited New England as a free agent earlier this summer, but it appears that Tom Brady was able to frighten him away.
The announcement that Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette would be visiting the New England Patriots as a free agent was one of the most stunning moments of the offseason. The Patriots were stocked at running back, so Fournette’s departure from Tom Brady and the Bucs didn’t make much sense.
Fournette ended up re-signing with the Buccaneers on a three-year, $21 million deal that Bill Belichick and the Patriots were unlikely to match. While money was most likely a factor, it appears that Brady played a role in Fournette’s decision to return to Tampa.
Tom Brady may have made Leonard Fournette re-sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of fear.
Brady has been New England’s veteran quarterback for two decades, and there have been rumors that he and the Patriots aren’t getting along these days. When Brady learned that Fournette was in New England, he immediately contacted him and inquired about his plans.
Brady may have been more concerned with one of his top playmakers potentially leaving, but this could also be seen as a diss on New England. The Brady/Belichick rivalry has been the subject of much debate since Brady left the Pats, so maybe he didn’t want Belichick to get another good player on his roster for the upcoming season.
It’s more likely that the latter isn’t true, and Brady just wanted his top running back on board since he eventually decided to return for yet another season. Fournette, of course, has revived his career in Tampa after getting released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he was one of the top options in the passing game for Brady and a decimated Bucs offense.
While it didn’t really seem like New England needed a running back, which made Fournette’s visit so confusing, they eventually addressed the position in the draft with third-day picks Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. But it’s clear that Fournette would have been an immediate upgrade over either of these two guys.