NFL free agency: Buccaneers release playoff hero Leonard Fournette and tight end Cameron Brate
Playoff Lenny might need to adopt a new nickname, at least for a few weeks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut ties with running back Leonard Fournette and tight end Cameron Brate, the team announced Friday.
Both players will become free agents.
We've released RB Leonard Fournette.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) March 17, 2023
Fournette, 28, turned in three productive years with the Bucs after joining the team just before the 2020 NFL season. Fournette's workload was limited throughout the regular season in 2020, but he emerged as a significant weapon for the Bucs during the team's playoff run. Fournette scored a touchdown in all four games as the Buccaneers surged to a Super Bowl victory.
He was installed as the team's full-time starter in 2021 and rushed for 812 yards and eight touchdowns. Fournette also gained 454 receiving yards and added two receiving touchdowns. Fournette still played a big role in the team's offense in 2022, but lost some playing time to rookie Rachaad White as the season went along.
Cameron Brate released by Buccaneers after 9 seasons
Brate leaves the Bucs after nine years with the franchise. Brate, 31, originally joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He caught just one pass his rookie season. Brate found his footing during his second season in the NFL, catching 23 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns.
He then turned in his best seasons as a pro. Over the next two seasons, Brate caught 105 balls for 1,251 yards and 14 scores.
The Buccaneers selected tight end O.J. Howard in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, which limited Brate's production. The team then signed Rob Gronkowski ahead of the 2020 NFL season, keeping Brate in a backup role.