Buccaneers Rumors: Giovani Bernard Remains with Tom Brady, TB on 1-Year Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 1, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 16: Giovani Bernard #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Veteran running back Giovani Bernard is returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year deal, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. 

He'll rejoin Leonard Fournette and Ke'Shawn Vaughn in the backfield. 

Bernard, 30, appeared in 12 games for the Bucs in the 2021 season, rushing eight times for 58 yards. He made a bigger impact in the passing attack, grabbing 23 passes for 123 yards and three scores. 

While Fournette remains the top option for the Bucs—and Vaughn should see more reps after Ronald Jones signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason—Bernard is the type of scatback who quarterback Tom Brady has loved to utilize throughout his career, reminiscent of players such as Kevin Faulk and James White from his New England Patriots days. 

When Bernard first signed with the team last offseason, Pelissero reported that Brady and former head coach Bruce Arians "personally recruited" the veteran running back.

The combination of injury issues and Fournette's continued ascension as a three-down back limited Bernard's impact in 2021. But the Bucs clearly believe he'll add another dimension to their offense if he can stay healthy. 

Granted, Bernard's signing isn't the biggest news of the week. That distinction would belong to Arians, who retired from coaching and joined the Bucs front office, paving the way for Todd Bowles to be named the head coach. 

It's been a wild offseason in Tampa, with Brady's decision to retire before announcing six weeks later he would be playing for the 2022 season. But throughout all of the drama, the Bucs quietly brought back a number of their key free agents, including Bernard, Fournette, Chris Godwin, Ryan Jensen and Carlton Davis.

A core group that won the Super Bowl in the 2020 season and reached the playoffs again last year is mostly back together for another run at a title.