Here's a shocker: Tom Brady has successfully recruited another veteran. On Monday, NFL Network's Tom Peliserro reported that long-time Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernand will sign a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Veteran RB Giovani Bernard is signing a one-year deal with the #Bucs, per source.
Tom Brady and Bruce Arians both personally recruited Bernard, one of the NFL’s best receiving backs, after his release from Cincinnati. Another weapon for Brady and the Super Bowl champs.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 12, 2021
According to Peliserro, Bernard's agreement to join Tampa came after personal recruiting efforts from the Bucs quarterback and head coach Bruce Arians.
It's easy to understand the appeal of Bernard for Brady and Arians. The 29-year old has long been one of the steadiest receivers out of the backfield in football. Bernard has caught 342 balls (not including playoffs) since his rookie season of 2013 at an average of 8.4 yards per reception.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted that New England Patriots halfback James White — who caught over 300 passes from Brady across six seasons in Foxborough — considered signing with the Buccaneers before opting to re-up with the Pats.
James White had interest in joining Tom Brady and the #Bucs as their third-down back before re-signing with the #Patriots. Instead, it’s the newly available Gio Bernard. He had interest from TB and the #Chiefs, but ends up in Tampa Bay. https://t.co/OjMJY9lxTp
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 12, 2021
The Kansas City Chiefs also had an interest in Bernard, per Rapoport. The 5'9 tailback was released by the Bengals after spending eight seasons with the franchise that drafted him in the second round (no. 37 overall) out of North Carolina.
Bernard played a larger-than-expected role for Cincy in 2020 after starter Joe Mixon suffered a foot injury. The veteran racked up 771 yards and six total touchdowns from scrimmage. He tallied 47 receptions and should bring his pass-catching ability to the Bucs.
Brady and the Super Bowl champs will have no shortage of weapons in their arsenal next season with the Bucs returning all 22 starters from last season's title-winning group.
Bernard will join Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, and C.J. Prosise in the Tampa Bay backfield as the Buccaneers look to repeat.