Buccaneers sign Giovani Bernard, Tom Brady continues to win offseason

Running back Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Running back Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers signed former Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard, adding to Tom Brady’s embarrassment of riches at the skill positions, ahead of the 2021 season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took another step Monday towards defending the franchise’s Super Bowl championship, signing veteran running back Giovani Bernard.

Bernard, 29, is the kind of dual-threat running back who has the potential to level-up the Buccaneers’ offense and significantly boost veteran quarterback Tom Brady’s production in his second season in Tampa Bay.

Last season, Bernard rushed for 416 yards and three touchdowns. He also broke off nine explosive runs, while averaging 2.35 yards after contact, according to Pro Football Focus.

However, Bernard made an even bigger impact in the Cincinnati Bengals’ passing game in 2020. Bernard caught 47-of-58 targets for 355 yards and three touchdowns, while only dropping four passes.

The Buccaneers, led by general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians’ efforts, have done a masterful job not just of keeping its Super Bowl winning core together, but also supplementing it via free agency.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Brady and Arians were instrumental in recruiting Bernard to Tampa Bay:

Now in Tampa Bay, Bernard pairs with Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, two dynamic running backs but might be the best pass-catcher of the group, which creates all kinds of optionality for Brady and offensive coordinator Todd Bowles in terms of personnel groupings.

A former second-round pick of the Bengals, Bernard has rushed for 3,697 yards and 22 touchdowns in 115 career games, but this will be his best chance yet at contributing to a Super Bowl contender.

Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL