The cool kids are down in Tampa, and Giovani Bernard wants to sit at their table.
Bernard is signing a one-year deal with the Buccaneers, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday, per a source informed of the situation.
Bernard is heading south after a two-pronged recruiting pitch originating in Tampa, with both quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bruce Arians making the effort to personally recruit the satellite back to join the reigning champion Bucs, per Pelissero.
Bernard has spent the entirety of his eight-year NFL career as a running back who splits lead-back duties, never seeing more than 170 attempts in a single season, but he's been known as a reliable difference-maker in more than just the ground game. The 5-foot-9 runner has caught 342 passes for 2,867 yards in his career, scoring 11 receiving touchdowns in the process while bringing some diversity to Cincinnati's backfield.
Thanks to Joe Mixon's emergence, Bernard's carries dropped significantly in 2018 and 2019 before rising back above 120 in 2020. At 29-years-old, the time was now to leave southern Ohio for a current contender, latching on with a Buccaneers squad that also attempted to lure James White from New England to the sunnier skies of Florida. Instead of White, Brady gets his smaller receiving back in Bernard, who's poised to potentially have a White-like season catching passes from Brady.
Bernard joins a backfield that includes Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, giving Tampa Bay the potential for a three-headed attack that brings plenty of balance. While the Buccaneers managed to retain all 22 starters from last season's title team, it's clear with the addition of Bernard they weren't stopping there.