Bills signing RB Leonard Fournette to practice squad as team adds to backfield

The Buffalo Bills are adding to their running back room as former Jaguars and Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette will sign a deal with Buffalo’s practice squad, CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones confirms. Fournette visited the Bills earlier in the season but did not sign with them.

He has been a street free agent all season after averaging just 3.5 yards per carry with Tampa Bay last year.

The Bills lost running back Damien Harris to a concussion a couple weeks ago, and have been splitting the backfield entirely between James Cook and Latavius Murray. Cook is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and has improved his success rate as both a runner and receiver this season, per, while Murray is at just 3.6 yards per carry and is down to a 45% success rate, which is his worst mark since 2018.

The Bills have shown that they trust Murray more than Cook in pass protection and around the goal line. Fournette has been a strong pass-catcher during his career (three seasons with 69 or more receptions) but despite his size he has not been a particularly good pass protector (he allowed 38 pressures on 299 career pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus) or short-yardage runner. During his three seasons in Tampa, Fournette converted just 61.1% of his opportunities on third- or fourth-and-1, a rate that ranked 70th out of 100 backs who had 100 or more total carries during that span.

Still, the Bills wouldn’t be bringing him in if they didn’t feel they had a need for his skill set. It remains to be seen what type of role he’ll fill in the backfield — or whether he will even be activated off the practice squad for game days, but Buffalo has already shown this season that it is not satisfied with its options alongside Josh Allen.

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