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Buccaneers plan to release RB Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette will be hitting the free-agent market this offseason.

The Buccaneers are planning to release the veteran running back when the new league year begins on March 15, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per a source.

Pelissero adds that Fournette has $2 million fully guaranteed left on his contract and another $2 million would've become fully guaranteed on March 19. Fournette's release allows Tampa to spread the cap hit.

Those numbers derive from the three-year deal Fournette signed this time last year after exploring free agency. Fournette's reported release comes on the same day Bucs general manager Jason Licht expressed his belief the veteran was "still a three-down back in this league."

Fournette is coming off a down year in 2022, which could be said for most of Tampa's offense. Logging nine starts, Fournette gained 689 rushing yards off 189 attempts (3.5 yards per carry) and scored three touchdowns. Fournette found better production through the air in his sixth NFL season, catching 73 balls for 523 yards and three more scores.

Still only 28 years old, Fournette portends to be a viable option on a contending team in 2023.

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