Bucs Sign Pass-Catching Back Giovani Bernard to a One-Year Deal

Giovani Bernard With Buccaneers Background

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed running back Giovani Bernard to a one-year contract.
  • Bernard ranked 12th among running backs last season with 355 receiving yards.
  • Tampa Bay has the second best odds to win Super Bowl LVI at +600 via SportsBetting.ag.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed veteran running back Giovani Bernard to a one-year deal. Bernard was released by the Cincinnati Bengals last week in a salary cap-saving move.

Bernard was also recruited by the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks with even Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson personally calling Bernard to recruit him. But in the end, he chose the Bucs after also getting a call from head coach Bruce Arians and starting QB Tom Brady.

Pass Catching Out of the Backfield

The Bucs already have Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette and second-year back Ke’Shawn Vaughn in their lineup but Bernard’s ability to change directions, his elite cutting ability, and ability to avoid tacklers gives Tampa Bay something different, with Jones and Fournette known as north and south runners.

Jones and Fournette are not known as excellent pass catchers and both of them had five drops in each 2020, tied for second most among running backs in the NFL. Bernard meanwhile, had 355 receiving yards last season, 12th most among running backs in the NFL. Since his rookie season in 2013, Bernard ranks third among NFL running backs in receptions (342), targets (445), and receiving yards (2,867).

Bernard also improves Tampa Bay’s pass catching out of the backfield. Tom Brady ranked 7th in the league with 121 pass attempts to running backs during the 2020 season. However, he ranked only 26th in completion percentage targeting that position at only 69.4%. Having Bernard in his backfield should make his short passing game even better.

The Band is Back

The Buccaneers are the first team since 1977 to return all 22 Super Bowl starters. That should do them well in their attempt to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. The best NFL betting sites currently have the Bucs with the second best odds to win the Super Bowl, with only the Kansas City Chiefs having shorter odds than them.

According to online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag, the Chiefs are the +550 odds on favorite to win Super Bowl LVI. The Bucs, who manhandled the Chiefs 31-9 at Super Bowl LV last February, are next in the oddsboard at +600. The Green Bay Packers and the new-look L.A. Rams are tied for third at +1200.

In the history of the Super Bowl, only 8 teams have repeated as NFL champion. The last time it has happened though was in 2003-04 when the New England Patriots won Super Bowls 38 and 39 so that makes Tampa Bay’s task difficult. However, the quarterback for those New England teams is well, Tom Brady, who is the Bucs’ starting QB. In the words of team owner Joel Glazer, If you want to know the road ahead, ask a person who’s been there before.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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