April 12 (UPI) — Former Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard has agreed to a short-term contract with the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
League sources told ESPN and NFL Media on Monday that Bernard is signing a one-year contract with the Bucs. The team hasn’t confirmed the agreement, which is pending a physical.
The Bengals released Bernard last week to clear additional salary-cap space ahead of this month’s NFL Draft. According to ESPN, the veteran tailback spent the weekend considering multiple offers, but he opted to join Tampa Bay after head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady contacted him.
Bernard will join a Buccaneers backfield that already consists of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, along with second-year tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
The Bengals selected Bernard in the second round of the 2013 draft out of North Carolina. He spent the first eight seasons of his NFL career in Cincinnati before being cut loose this month.
Bernard is expected to serve as the Buccaneers’ premier pass-catching back in the 2021 campaign. Last season, the 29-year-old running back recorded three receiving touchdowns and ranked 12th in the league among running backs with 355 receiving yards.
Since his rookie season in 2013, Bernard is third among tailbacks in receptions (342), targets (445) and receiving yards (2,867).