Cameron Brate Or Leonard Fournette?

February 23rd, 2021

The headline represents a very simple yet still complex question for Bucs fans and management.

Cameron Brate is due $6.5 million for the 2021 season, a quality contract for a quality tight end who turns 30 before the season.

However, that’s a lot of cash to spend at the position, if the Bucs are going to bring back Rob Gronkowski at a market value contract ($9 million annually?)

Last year, the Bucs got Brate to take a pay cut down to $4 million and change. It was a wise move for Brate, who was coming off injuries and less productive seasons. But will Brate agree to that again? Joe would not wager on it.

Brate may love Tampa and be eager to start his eighth season with the Buccaneers, but Brate just as easily could be a guy who accomplished his goal of a Super Bowl ring and now is more interested in getting market value for his services. Joe couldn’t blame the guy if that’s where his head is.

So with all that in mind. Joe is wondering aloud about who is more valuable to the Bucs offense, Brate or Leonard “Playoff Lenny” Fournette.

Fournette, obviously, is a running back, a position devalued in the NFL despite its importance. Heck, the franchise tag for running backs is only about $8 million, and Fournette probably wouldn’t get the $6.5 million Brate is set to earn on the open market.

So what’s a smarter expenditure for the salary-cap-squeezed Bucs, Brate or Fournette?

Joe would love to keep both, but if it’s a straight-up, one-year decision without gray area, Joe would pick Fournette.

86 Responses to “Cameron Brate Or Leonard Fournette?”

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:

    No to Lenny.
    He has consistency issues.
    We can do better.

  2. AL121976 Says:

    I think I would keep Brate. OJ went down and we needed Brate, RBs are easier to come by then a reliable TE. Plus RoJo seems to be hitting his stride and who knows what Vaughn and the draft hold for RBs. – BTW, Where the Hell is the realist?

  3. AL121976 Says:

    than*** a reliable TE

  4. Bird Says:

    Unfortunately this is how we get back some money to sign almost all needed guys

    Cut gholston and brate frees up an additional 11-12 mil
    Sorry. No lenny. He helped win a championship but got to keep defense and godwin.

    Plus good chance gholston And brate come back on dirt cheap
    Both have made millions in tampa

  5. 813bucboi Says:

    keep brate…develop vaughn

    GO BUCS!!!

  6. Noles Says:

    No to Brate & Lenny. Agree on not trusting Lenny long term. We need the $ for the rest of the group.

    I would prefer to lose Shaq over LVD. I think they will tag CG.. could be some free agent options that may help on edge if we lose Shaq. Maybe someone come in on one yr. prove it deal.. Shaq has been good but w out Vea he is a different player. I get Vea is LEGIT… BUT if he is good he shouldn’t struggle that much w out him.

    It will be interesting to see how they approach FA & draft..

  7. lowercaseg Says:

    Keep brate but se if he will restructure, we stuck with him for a while and he’s made his money. Maybe he wants to stay.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Keep Brate…..let Lenny go….get a comp pick for him……rotate Rojo & Vaughns

    Use all three TEs more…>Gronk, OJ, Brate.

    Let Godwin go…..sign AB to a friendly….

    Draft A DT, Olb……

  9. Davenport Says:


    TE: Gronk, Howard, Auclair
    There is no reason to pay Brate & Howard

    RB: Jones, FA, Vaughn
    Veteran running backs will be cheap in FA

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I would keep Fournette. Good RB don’t grow on trees and having both RoJo and Fournette with Vaughn as a #3 it extremely good.

  11. Cannon Says:

    Lenny is going to run off to greener pastures. We thank him for his service.

  12. Mitch Says:

    Keep Brate. OJ is a great athlete, but average football player. He has been inconsistent in his play, blocking, and has had injury issues while in the league. On top of that there was a time that I read about him wanting to be in New Orleans.

    I don’t know if Lenny will come back. If he doesn’t James White seems like an easy plug and play solution for this year to replace Lenny and Shady’s veteran leadership. White’s arrival and Lenny’s departure will also give Vaughn an opportunity to develop.

  13. bucfanforever Says:

    Brate. A Friend of Brady can take over as RB1b.

  14. Youngbucs Says:

    Bye Lenny thx for your contributions

  15. Marine Buc Says:

    I like the idea of drafting a RB with a late 1st round pick. You get them cheap for 5 seasons when they are most productive. Then you draft another one.

    I wouldn’t overpay for a RB in their second NFL contract.

    I would keep Brate because OJ Howard has been injured every year and is coming off a season ending Achilles tendon injury.

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Davenport

    I agree. Should be several solid free agent RBs available at a reasonable rate.

    We need 2. Draft one and five one via FA…

  17. Marine Buc Says:

    *find not five. Lol

  18. firethecannons Says:

    market OJ for a 4th round
    keep Brate and keep Playoff Lenny both were essential in the playoffs

  19. Robert Says:

    everybody hates Lenny lol. I think we must find a way to keep him AND Brate! I would lose Gronk out of the three. Love him, but he is tired and Brate can do his job.

    One thing we CAN NOT count on is OJ Howard. dude stubs his toe and is out for the season. We would need another TE.

    If I HAD to make the call Brate or Lenny. Let Lenny walk as that is a position more easily filled and Brate has been more consistent for us.

  20. 2021 Year of the GOAT Says:

    shop howard, renegotiate brate and lenny

  21. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Is it possible to have too many good Tight Ends in a Brady led offense?

  22. Adrnagy Says:

    If OJ can block keep him. Brate is a luxury. If brate is willing to restructure keep him 2-3 yrs more. To complement OJ when gronk leaves. Unless coaching staff believes gronk is a go for 2-3 yrs.
    Lenny I want him back but rather him test market and we can counter offer.

    I believe Brady wants to give it a go for a 10th Lombardi. So TE are important for Brady.


    Keep Brate, Brady loves recieving TE’s. To think Gronk is washed up is idiotic, maybe a little slower than he was but a guy that giggles when face plants a def tackle or linebacker is a keeper. Plus he has proven he can catch most anything thrown his way. Shop OJ and way too many RB’s in free agency to keep Lenny. A RB that excels in the PO’s is great unless his lack of consistency could also help prevent making the PO’s. Get a RB that can run and CATCH!

  24. Allbuccedup Says:

    Keep Brate and Lenny let OJ’s 6 mil go. Hes missed 22 games in four years, its time to let Dirks first round blunder go.

  25. zzbuc Says:

    Do not pay big money for RB´s!!!!! Doesn´t make any sense…..Keep with Rojo and Vauhn, and wait for FA, they will be plenty…..Would be a stupid move…..

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    Arians on the RB position: “I don’t overpay for that position.”

    @Robert: Gronkowski is a prime reason the Bucs ran well last season, and why play-action was so deadly.

    Brate does NOT block.

    Gronk > Brate.

    Besides, Tanner Hudson is on the roster. Can he pick up the slack?

  27. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Keep Brate, trade OJ for the 5th round draft pick and resign Lenny.

  28. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    I don’t think it is as simple as Brate or Lenny. Lenny will leave for a team that thinks playoff Lenny is all year Lenny – he isn’t. Go with RoJo and sign Brady’s buddy White. See what Brate will come back for. Howard, well, we get minimal return on a trade and can’t cut him so he’s a problem.

  29. The Daily Coroner Says:

    What happened to the OJ Howard part of the equation? He is under contract. Too many Avocado Tequilas?

  30. SOEbuc Says:

    Brate by a long shot. Him and Brady have a connection. And unless there’s any sign of down hill play, you can let up with the dumbass 30+ years old markers (Brady, LVD, Suh, JPP, AB).

  31. windbaggery Says:

    I’d always find a way to keep Brate around. We brought him in as a UDFA, we let him hang out on the practice squad. We developed him. He’s been with us a while. He’s a Buccaneer. And he’s not over the hill. There needs to be a way to keep him.

  32. Joe Says:

    What happened to the OJ Howard part of the equation? He is under contract. Too many Avocado Tequilas?

    O.J. Howard is not a free agent. Cam Brate and Playoff Lenny are.

  33. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    With so many of these guys the rub is getting paid vs. a chance to play with Brady and win again. Each guy makes his own decisions. Careers are short so I don’t begrudge a guy leaving for more money.

  34. Howard Cosell Says:

    Brate almost made as many clutch plays as Lenny.
    It’s down to the question of which of the two is easier to replicate:
    Exceptional TE play or exceptional RB play.

    Brady seems to have a talent for drawing out exceptional RB play
    wherever he goes. Brate is more of an X-factor guy

  35. Robert Says:

    OJ is worth maybe a bag of warn popcorn at this point

  36. crazyBucs_CL Says:

    @”J, would love to keep both……”
    Leave it right there J, keep them both and pay with:
    O. J. Howard. That’s it….find the way

  37. Joe Says:

    With so many of these guys the rub is getting paid vs. a chance to play with Brady and win again. Each guy makes his own decisions. Careers are short so I don’t begrudge a guy leaving for more money.

    Play to win: Emotion.
    Get paid: Business.

  38. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Joe

    I believe Brate is under contract until 2024. Signed a six year deal in 2018…

  39. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    “Play to win: Emotion.
    Get paid: Business.”

    Can’t buy a Bentley with emotion. I tried.

  40. Coburn Says:

    For TE would like to see Gronk, Brate, Auclair, Hudson… OJ feels expendable
    For RB would love to have Lenny back, but don’t want to pay too much.
    Rojo, Vaughn, a free agent, and a late pick to compete sounds fine
    Brate has a connection with Brady… If he loses Godwin or Brown he won’t be able to afford to lose Brate as well. All the dude does is catch everything thrown his way

  41. Coburn Says:

    I just worry a bit about Brates hip

  42. SlyPirate Says:

    Lenny and AB taught us the Bucs should keep cap space for late offseason waivers.

    There will always be the star(s) that gets cut late. The Bucs will be THE #1 destination for all of these players.

  43. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So….it’s settled…..we cut Brate & Howard….let Lenny go…..sign Gronk to a 5 year contract along with Brady….

    And draft 3 TEs & 4 RBs……

  44. Sumosam Says:

    Running backs like Fournette are really hard to come by. We’ve made Brate a wealthy man. Now it’s time for Fournette. How quickly we forget how good he is. Don’t let that man out of Tampa.

  45. WalkdaPlank Says:

    OJ will never stay healthy, we won’t have Gronk for long. We have Ronald Jones. Brate has always been reliable. Lenny was a healthy scratch.

    Easy decision

  46. geno711 Says:

    Let Godwin go, it seems then we can keep all of Brate, Lenny, Gronk, and AB on offense. Or we pay Godwin 18 million a year market value and then if keep any of these other guys, we then have to keep less defensive guys.

    I love Godwin, but if you allot $21 million to the offense guys, I think you get all of Gronk, Lenny, Brate, and AB.

    If you use 18 million of that 21 million for Godwin then you get Godwin and Rex Burkhart.

  47. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    As much as I like the idea of AB for another year you wonder if its more likely he plays for the Mean Machine next year

  48. BradyBucs Says:

    Brate has served us well but probably best that we let him go to another team. We’re deep at TE with Howard coming back from injury. We could also draft a late round TE prospect.

    Fournette has to go to as well. He played great in the playoffs but he was very inconsistent during the season.

    RoJo has far great UPSIDE potential as our RB. RoJo had some really great, angry runs in the Super Bowl.

    I feel like if RoJo is just given more carries during games he can rip off many 100+ yard rushing games. He can work on his receiving and get better.

    And Vaughn to the mix, who showed some great flashes, and he can also be a great back if it cuts out the fumble issue.

  49. adam from ny Says:

    this is a question you go directly to tom with…

    tom do you want lenny or cam more in the offense?…tell us

    problem solved

  50. Alanbucsfan Says:

    You could probably sign Mark Ingram AND Brate for the cost of Fournette

  51. Beeej Says:

    Do we know ANYthing about OJ’s status? Achilles can take over a year

  52. adam from ny Says:

    you also must consider who is a late cut and who is hanging around waiting to get picked up off the scrap heap at the beginning of the season, dirt cheap…

    there will be some prospects to add to the mix from this scenario…

    fornette and AB were kinda those guys last season…

    circumstances will play themselves out over the off season…

    let’s say a kareem hunt flips out in a mall and drives his car through the entrance windows…

    then cleveland cuts him quick…

    then he’s on the open market for multiple issues including his past…

    then the bucs swoop in and sign him for say 1.5 mil and put him in a rubber room at the brady house…haha

    and he rushes for 880 yards and 5 tds and catches ample balls as well for the bucs…

    and with rojo doing his thnig as well…

    things like this do happen – and they come to fruition from a more wait and see approach…

    everyone is playing gm right now but sometimes players do fall into your lap as well…

    also there could be a few players who literally pull some sh!!t with their teams after talking with tom brady about playing for the bucs…

    pull some sh**, get cut, and the bucs swoop in and grab ya…



  53. mark2001 Says:

    Joe…I know we all like Brate. But lets face it…when we get OJ back, one of them will be on the bench. And if we could get a third for one of them and cut the cap hit to sign another guy that might better serve us? Yeah…you have a good point.

  54. geno711 Says:

    Alanbucsfan. If you are correct then I agree with you. I would take Ingram and Brate over just Fournette.

  55. Sesteprenelicus Says:

    I wish the NFLPA would do its job and negotiate better.

    They should also demand that players should be able to stay with their same team and not count against the cap.

    Or at least stay with the team that drafts them and not count against the cap. That way Brate could stay.

    At a minimum, they should count at a lower % against the cap.

  56. Buxszntkt Says:

    Cam has always been great for the Bucs. But his Ivy League pedigree reminds us he is not a true NFL TE, like Gronk, Kittle, Kelce, Ertz. I don’t see him being as strong a blocker as these guys, he’s a tall , medium big guy to run out and catch balls. That’s why we have had Auclair hanging around, to block when blocking is needed. One hopes this OJ dude isn’t a bust, he was supposed to be the next Ozzie Newsome, we’re waiting OJ!
    But, at the same time Fournette is a headcase and you never know when that guy may crap out and stop producing, he certainly wasn’t stellar in many games this past season, excluding post season.
    I would think about using that cash if needed to retain the key guys we’ve all noted. Once Suh, LVD, Shaq are locked in as well as CG and AB then worry about these guys with whatever money there is left over.

  57. Rod Munch Says:

    I’d rather keep OJ at $6m. Brate is fine as a #2 TE, but he’s not a starter and he can’t block. If they needed him to start he’d get completely shutdown and would offer zero protection for the tackles. I don’t see any other team, in a year with a tight cap, giving him $6.5m, so they should squeeze him, down to $4m or so again. At that price, maybe you keep him. But again, I’d rather keep OJ at $6m since he can be a legit #1 if Gronk goes down or somehow doesn’t resign.

  58. Wesley Says:

    Fournette then roll with O.J. and Gronk.

  59. Wesley Says:

    I’d actually say no to both and try to use that money to basically sign everyone else.

  60. Bobby M. Says:

    Fournette is probably the odd man out…..he was nearly cut just a few weeks before the playoffs. He’s a head case at a position that is fairly easy to replace.

  61. Hoops Says:

    How can you not like Brate. He’s been dependable since he’s been in Tampa. Brady obviously does. Ask Tom who he wants. As they say, the best ability is availability. That’s something that unfortunately OJ has not been.

  62. BuccoDav Says:

    Kelce doesn’t block much, watch the Super Bowl… Kittle is known mostly as a receiving tight end as is Ertz. Gronk is and always will be the gold standard for the total package. Brate is a pass catching tight end. He has no need to apologize for that. If that is what Brady wants, that is what Brady gets.

  63. Miller5252 Says:

    We need a good tight end to take the load off Gronk during the regular season. Seeing a very healthy Gronk during the post season was huge!!! He took out Washington football team killer DE on his own and then went big tome in the Super Bowl. Need him healthy when it matters!

  64. Snook Says:

    Brate isn’t going anywhere. Lenny will leave. Bucs will trade OJ and save $6M on cap. No dead money.

    Don’t need OJ. He’s a nice house with no furniture.

  65. TB12one Says:

    I love Brate and appreciate all he’s done. But the value isn’t there to keep him over Fournette. We need a pass catching power RB. Why let him leave? Brady will likely play 2 more seasons and possibly more. If Fournette wants to win, he should stay. And having a two headed monster in the backfield goes a long way to getting us back to the promised land. Pound the rock!!!

  66. adam from ny Says:

    the thing about brate is his quarterbacks seem to really trust him…

    jameis certainly did…

    and tom throws to him in clutch moments as well…tom trusts cam on the field

  67. DaBux Says:

    Pass on Lenny. You can sign James White and David Johnson for the same amount of money and see if OJ Howard is worth it. Tight ends will be in surplus this offseason, just like WR’s and RBs.

  68. Ash Says:

    Lenny isn’t that good he played ok in the playoffs pass protection sucks catching ability isnt that great failed to take over the job completely because rojo is a better runner by far.

  69. Defense Rules Says:

    Look at the ‘weapons’ puzzle from Bucs’ management perspective, in a year when the salary CAP will almost surely be in the $180 – $200 mil range.

    1 – Evans … $16.6 mil
    2 – Godwin … $17.2 mil (estimated market value)
    3 – Brown … $4.0 mil (low ball estimate)
    4 – Miller … $0.9 mil
    5 – Johnson … $0.9 mil
    6 – Watson … $1.0 mil
    7 – Gronk … $8.5 mil (estimated market value)
    8 – Brate … $6.5 mil
    9 – OJ … $6.0 mil
    10 – Auclair … $1.3 mil (last year’s salary)
    11 – RoJo … $2.3 mil
    12 – Fournette … $8.1 (estimated market value)
    13 – Vaughn … $1.1 mil

    Grand total: $79.4 mil JUST for those 13 ‘weapons’, only 4-5 of whom are on the field at any one time. And that doesn’t count paying a starting QB to hand them or throw them the ball ($28.4 mil), plus 5 starting OLinemen to block for them ($41.1 mil) plus 6 ‘spares’ (3 OLinemen, 2 QBs, 1 more RB), coming to roughly another $7.5 mil.

    Add all that up & we’d have an offense weighing in at a tad over $156 mil, leaving between $24 mil (worst case) and $44 mil (best case) to pay for our S/Ts (3 players) and Defense (25 players). Ya, that’s gonna work out just beautifully. Hard choices on the horizon … we can’t keep everyone. Heck we’d be really lucky if we can keep 10 of the 13 ‘weapons’ mentioned (and that’d include all of the lowest paid weapons at that).

  70. MadMax Says:

    Let Brate go if we arent targeting a QB in the first, then draft Freiermuth 32nd.

    Keep Fournette as long as he’s cap friendly.

    This way we at least have a future Gronk if we cant land a future Brady.

    OJ is a bust as a 1st….just dont. And I wanted him at that pick…(my worst so far, then J. Evans and JW) :/

  71. MadMax Says:

    Yeah, JL has his hands full. But i think Evans and Gronk work with us (Evans already said he would)….and hopefully Godwin does a long term deal with the first year of that deal on the cheap….we lose Brate and Brown (unless AB wants to come back cheap)

    then hopefully Lenny comes back cheap. If not, oh well, back to the drawing board for a good enough stout guy like him.

  72. Joe Says:

    Joe…I know we all like Brate. But lets face it…when we get OJ back, one of them will be on the bench.

    Joe is not convinced O.J. will be either 100 percent by September or will be the same downfield threat. An Achilles injury is pretty major for a skill position player.

  73. windbaggery Says:

    I don’t understand all these people so ready to let Brate walk. The guy still produces and is smart and reliable. And he’s one of those rare players that you develop in house on the practice squad who ends up being a really good player for a good stretch of time. He’s a little overpaid, but there are other places to save money. Plus, I don’t see any reason to count on OJ Howard until we see if he’s recovered — even so, Howard hasn’t played a full season even once, has he? Brate is a Buccaneer and should remain one for as long he’s still productive.

  74. Joe Says:

    I don’t understand all these people so ready to let Brate walk. The guy still produces and is smart and reliable.

    He’s consistent and he produces.

    1. We don’t know if Gronk returns.

    2. We don’t know what kind of player O.J. Howard will be. An Achilles is a bad injury for a skill position player. Will or can he still be the same downfield threat he once was?

  75. adam from ny Says:

    you keep gronk, cam and tanner…

    you let oj and auclair go…


  76. adam from ny Says:

    knock brate’s salary down by 2 mil…

    have someone meet his girlfriend at a dennys for coffee with a briefcase with 2 million inside…

    problem solved

  77. adam from ny Says:

    pay these boys the old fashioned way…

    a briefcase and a hot cup of java


  78. adam from ny Says:

    by the way i like friermuth too

  79. adam from ny Says:

    i’m hearing percy harvin wants to get in the brady mix now too

  80. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Neither one

  81. William Berry Says:

    If it’s the straight-up choice presented here, you have to keep the one who’s harder to replace, and that’s Brate. Besides, he’s paid his dues here, and then some. If you can possibly reward that, then you do.

    I love Lombardi Lenny, I always have, and it’s been great having him here. But he was benched for a reason. He had a hard time keeping his his head straight. Now, riding the pine for a couple of games seems to have been a thoroughly effective remedy for whatever had gotten momentarily sideways in Fournette’s heart and mind, but we never had such an issue with Brate to begin with, and he’s had far more reason and much greater opportunity to express that kind of disappointment if he had a mind to.

    I think we should stick with RoJo and Vaughn as our primary young guys, and supplement them with another veteran presence who might be willing to take a discount in their sunset seasons to play with Brady and chase a ring with him–maybe someone like Adrian Peterson who’s said almost exactly that. If a veteran of AP’s caliber comes to Tampa, they might like playing a reduced role in exchange for adding games to the end of their career while RoJo and Vaughn take the majority of the snaps.

  82. Brandon Says:

    WHy are so many people wanting to get rid of Gholston? Y’all realize he led the team in QB hits, right? He was a stud for us this season and is very cheap when compared around the league to other starting DL.

  83. HeyItsAdam Says:


    We have proven we have no need for the wasted pick that was OJ Howard.

    I said for 5 years… this offense needed a stud running back. The second they got it – BLAMMO – 30 points against 4 playoff teams in a row.

  84. MadMax Says:

    @adam, oh yeah, always down with that…do what it takes! Of COURSE I dont want to see Brate go! Im just armchair GM’ing within the rules as a nobody like always lol.

    Still thinking of the future with Freier tho….then Jackson Carman, then Darius Stills.

  85. adam from ny Says:

    ya gotta roll with gronk and cam this year…

    he has chemistry and trust with gronk of course…

    and it seems as the year progressed he has built the same with cam…

    the other 3…oj, auclair and hudson are all expendable…

    shame to say that about oj with the offensive potential he has – but it’s kinda like not really working for him in tampa – it’s just one of those things – he will go somewhere and grab 50 balls for 700 yards and all – but it just doesn’t seem to be happening here

    it is what it is and it doesn’t seem to be changing

  86. adam from ny Says:

    when tom was drunk on the boat he had the balls and gumption to toss the lombardi onto another boat…

    who did he throw it to…


    even in a drunken stupor, tom’s gut trusted cam to grab that trophy and not let it sink like the titanic…

    he trusts in one cameron brate, the harvidian