Eight-year NFL veteran running back Giovani Bernard signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Then, an interesting note emerged from his colleague, Ian Rapoport.
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 Chiefs were another team interested in the 29-year-old running back, who was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Bernard spent 2013-2020 with the Bengals, accumulating more than 3,600 rushing yards and 2,800 receiving yards during that span.
Bernard has 33 total touchdowns in his career and had been regarded as Cincinnati’s best long-time pass protector. The Bengals granted Bernard his release last week.
The interest makes some sense, given some of the Chiefs’ signings over the past few years, including Carlos Hyde and LeSean McCoy (2019) and Le’Veon Bell (2020). What the three backs have in common are vast game experience — and an ability to put up numbers as both a rusher and receiver.
Behind second-year player Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs currently have Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, Elijah McGuire and Derrick Gore on their 90-man roster. The Chiefs released Damien Williams — who landed with the Chicago Bears — in mid-March. The interest in Bernard likely means the Chiefs want to add even more competition for Darrel and Darwin for that No. 2 position entering training camp — a trend for them over the past few years.
Perhaps they may go in that direction on Day 3 of the NFL Draft via a late pick or an undrafted free agent or by signing an available veteran similar to Bernard after the draft.