The Tampa Bay Buccaneers found a rotational, pass catching running back out on the open market in the form of former Cincinnati Bengals star Giovani Bernard. According to Tom Pelissaro, the Bucs and Bernard agreed to a one year deal on Monday;
Veteran RB Giovani Bernard is signing a one-year deal with the #Bucs, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 12, 2021
Tom Brady and Bruce Arians both personally recruited Bernard, one of the NFL’s best receiving backs, after his release from Cincinnati. Another weapon for Brady and the Super Bowl champs.
Bernard, who played with the Bengals for eight seasons since being drafted in the second round in 2013, is a Davie, Florida native and attended St. Thomas Aquinas high school.
Bernard played in 116 games, starting 30, in his time in Cincinnati. He rushed for 3,697 yards on 921 carries with 22 touchdowns. While as a pass catcher, Bernard amassed 2,867 yards on 342 catches (8.4 yards per catch) with eleven touchdowns and 118 catches for first down. For his career, he holds nearly a 75% catch rate.
The Bucs have needed an option at running back that can be a threat in the receiving game. Though Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette showed flashes, neither was consistent enough throughout the season to garner much confidence in their ability to be the top back on the team in that category.
Gio adds experience, skills, and versatility to the Bucs running back corps and although it seems he's taking LeSean McCoy's spot on the roster, it's safe to assume we'll see a lot more of him on the field than we did Shady.