RB Giovani Bernard agree to 1-year deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have consented to terms with running back Giovani Bernard on a one-year bargain, a source told ESPN on Monday, giving the Bucs an eight-year veteran’s presence and strong pair of hands in a running back room that as of now has Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, alongside second-year back Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Bernard got a poor start to free agency, as the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t release him until a week ago in a salary-cap-saving move. A source disclosed to ESPN he went through the end of the week weighing multiple offers, yet after he was personally contacted by both lead trainer Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady, Bernard opted to sign with Tampa Bay, where he could be a viable contributor in the short passing game.
Jones isn’t known as a pass-catcher, while Fournette, who took on a backup role before a major postseason, had a few drops. Both Jones and Fournette had five drops in the 2020 standard season – tied for second most among running backs in the league.
Bernard, 29, created 355 receiving yards last season – twelfth most in the class among running backs. Since his new kid on the block season in 2013, Bernard is third among NFL running backs in receptions (342), targets (445) and receiving yards (2,867).
Brady focused on running backs on 121 pass endeavors during the 2020 customary season – seventh most in the NFL. However, his completion percentage when targeting on that position was 69.4% – 26th in the league.
Bernard’s alter of course, cutting prowess and capacity to dodge tacklers gives the Bucs something else, as Jones and Fournette are all the more north and south runners.
Bernard was recruited by the 49ers and Seahawks, per a source near the situation. Not exclusively did Brady and Arians call him, he heard from Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson, also.
At the point when asked fourteen days prior, Arians didn’t commit on a starter at running back for the 2021 season, which means all positions are available to all – a difference to when Fournette showed up not long before the beginning of the regular season a year ago and Arians said Jones would stay the starter.
“That will all be defined through practice and OTAs and training camp and preseason,” Arians said two weeks ago. “There are no starters. This is a new football team. I made that message clear when they left, that that team won the Super Bowl. This team hasn’t done s—. All those things will be defined in practice.”