3 Buccaneers who won’t be back next year after crushing playoff loss

Ndamukong Suh, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Ndamukong Suh, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will surely lose some big names in free agency this offseason.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have decided to run it back after winning Super Bowl 55, but retaining every key free agent from a season ago came with a price.

While Tampa Bay won its first division title since 2007 this year, the Buccaneers fell at home on the final play of the game to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round. Though the Buccaneers should be able to retain many of their top free agents, there is no chance everybody is coming back for a third year in a row. They are absolutely going to be losing some marquee names.

So what three free agents of note are the Buccaneers extremely likely to lose in NFL free agency?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3 free agents who will not be back with the team in 2022

Giovani Bernard. 48. Scouting Report. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. RB. 3. player. Pick Analysis

Giovani Bernard is on the wrong side of 30 and only a change-of-pace back now

One position group that will be depleted in free agency for the Buccaneers is at running back. Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II and Giovani Bernard will all be hitting free agency. While Tampa Bay could look to bring back possibly two of these guys, Bernard was the least productive of the running back trio and the only one who is already over the age of 30. It does not bode well for him.

Bernard may have played in 12 games for the Buccaneers this year, but he only had eight carries for 58 yards during the regular season. Though he demonstrated a lot of value as a receiver in the backfield with 23 catches for 123 yards and three trips to pay dirt, it may not be enough to merit bringing Bernard back on a second contract with the team with Fournette and Jones on expirings.

Simply put, the Buccaneers are probably better served in taking a running back in day two or three of the 2022 NFL Draft than bringing back more than one of these guys. Because Fournette is the lone game-changer of the trio, he might return to Tampa Bay for a third season. Ultimately, the Buccaneers cannot go on a backfield spending spree when there are so many issues to address.

Bernard can be an effective player in the league, but it is a year-to-year proposition for him now.