Giovani Bernard

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/15/22

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys

Kansas City Chiefs

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers To Activate Lavonte David, Giovani Bernard; Leonard Fournette To Remain On IR

Part of the Buccaneers’ injured contingent will be back in uniform for the defending champions Sunday. Lavonte David and Giovani Bernard are set to come off IR on Saturday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets.

David suffered a foot injury in Week 15, joining Leonard Fournette and Chris Godwin in going down during a shutout loss to the Saints. Godwin is done for the season, and Laine adds Fournette will not be activated ahead of Saturday’s roster-setting deadline. Fournette is battling a hamstring injury.

While Bernard has not played a key role this season, he will be in line to do so against the Eagles. Not only is Fournette out, but the Bucs also declared Ronald Jones out because of an ankle injury. Tampa Bay has Bernard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Le’Veon Bell as its healthy backs.

Fournette carried the load for the Bucs for most of this season, reducing Jones and the others to bit parts. The former Jaguars top-five pick totaled a Bucs-most 1,266 scrimmage yards in 14 games. Fournette can still be activated ahead of a divisional-round game or the NFC championship, provided this Bucs iteration’s season extends that far.

One of the NFL’s top off-ball linebackers over the past 10 seasons, David was instrumental to the Bucs claiming their second Super Bowl title last season. He totaled 97 tackles and two forced fumbles this season and ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 linebacker. David will be tasked with leading a charge against an Eagles team that leads the NFL in rushing.

Bruce Arians said Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul are also on track to return against Philadelphia. While Barrett was a full practice participant Friday, JPP did not suit up for even a limited session due to his shoulder and knee injuries. JPP is not on IR, however, and has not been declared out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/12/22

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys 

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Designate Lavonte David, Leonard Fournette, Giovani Bernard For Return

After sustaining several injury subtractions down the stretch, the Buccaneers are preparing to deploy a healthier squad for their first-round playoff matchup. The defending champs designated Lavonte David, Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard for return from IR on Wednesday.

David has been down since suffering a foot injury during the Bucs’ Week 15 loss to the Saints, one of a few key Bucs who did not make it past that night. The veteran linebacker has spent the past three weeks on IR but is eligible to return for Sunday’s Eagles tilt. Also seeing an ankle malady sideline him earlier in the campaign, David missed five games during the regular season due to injury.

Joining David in going down in that Saints shutout loss, Fournette returned to practice and is expected to play Sunday. Fournette enjoyed a bounce-back season, rushing for 812 yards (on 4.5 per carry) in 14 games, before suffering a hamstring injury in Week 15. The playoffs stand to be pivotal for Fournette, who is on the cusp of what should be a better free agent market. The former top-five pick played a vital role for the Bucs during last year’s postseason, totaling 448 yards from scrimmage and scoring four touchdowns.

Bernard has been down a bit longer, missing that Saints tilt and having not played since Week 14. One of the few key newcomers for Tampa Bay this season, Bernard has not played much of a role for his second NFL team. The longtime Bengal has totaled just 181 scrimmage yards in 12 games.

The Bucs activated Shaquil Barrett from IR on Tuesday, and Bruce Arians also expects Jason Pierre-Paul to return after a rotator cuff tear sidelined him for the past four games. While Richard Sherman is done for the season, the Bucs stand to be a much healthier squad when they play their 18th game this season.

Buccaneers To Place RB Giovani Bernard On IR

The Buccaneers have placed Giovani Bernard on the injured reserve list. This was the expected move after the running back suffered an MCL injury earlier this week.

Bernard is also dealing with a hip issue and both injuries will require some time off. Fortunately for the Bucs, they have enough backfield ammo to get by without him. Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette continue to lead the rushing attack while Ke’Shawn Vaughn is already on the roster to serve as the third RB. If they want a fourth, Darwin Thompson is available for promotion.

So far this year, Bernard has registered just eight carries for 58 yards, plus 23 catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, he managed 47 catches for 355 yards and three receiving TDs with the Bengals — his best line since 2017.

The 10-3 Bucs face the Saints on Sunday night, a chance to formally clinch the NFC South.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs’ Giovani Bernard Suffers MCL Injury

Giovani Bernard will be out for at least a little while. The Buccaneers running back has been diagnosed with an MCL injury, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). Between that and his hip strain, Bernard will need some time to heal up. 

Bernard joined the Bucs this offseason after being released by the Bengals. Since then, he’s been used as the team’s RB3 behind Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette. To date, Bernard’s got just eight carries for 58 yards, though he’s put his soft hands to work as a pass-catching receiver with 23 grabs for 123 yards and three scores.

The Buccaneers also have Ke’Shawn Vaughn on the roster, so they don’t necessarily have to add another RB. But, if they need a fourth rusher, Darwin Thompson could be promoted from the practice squad.

The Buccaneers advanced to 10-3 yesterday by topping the Bills 33-27. Next up, a Sunday night showdown with the Saints. A win would formally seal the NFC South title and bring them one step closer to clinching a first round bye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Wanted Giovani Bernard To Take Pay Cut

Giovani Bernard‘s time in Cincinnati is done, as the pass-catching back signed with the defending champion Buccaneers a couple weeks ago.

His old team apparently wasn’t set on seeing him walk out the door, but they wanted him to stay on their own terms. Bengals exec Duke Tobin said this week the team had wanted Bernard back at a lower salary, per Ben Baby of ESPN (Twitter link). Bernard declined to take a pay cut, which is what led to his somewhat surprising release.

Bernard had been a staple of the franchise for most of the past decade after they drafted him in the second-round back in 2013. He had been set to earn a $3.7MM base salary with a $4.76MM cap hit in 2021 before getting cut. Bernard elected to chase a ring with Tampa despite interest from the 49ers and Seahawks.

Meanwhile, we also now have the details on Bernard’s contract with the Bucs, which we didn’t have when he first signed. Bernard signed for the vet minimum salary of $1.075MM along with a modest signing bonus of $137.5K, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets.

It’s quite possible Bernard signed for significantly less money to team up with Tom Brady, considering the interest from San Francisco and Seattle. Either way, it’s a great value signing for the Super Bowl champs, as Bernard remained productive while reeling in 47 catches last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Belichick, Bernard, Vikings

After once declaring that he wouldn’t coach beyond 70, Bill Belichick has since walked back his claims. Former head coach Marc Levy is one of the few people who can understand Belichick’s wavering, and he understands why the Patriots head coach continues to move the proverbial goal posts in regards to his retirement.

“Age is only an approximate thing. You’re involved and you’re going at it hard, and you love it, that’s it,” Levy told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “You just coach as long as you love it. I finally retired because the great core of our team had gotten old, and they were all retiring. And I had it finally. I felt I needed some time away.”

Reiss opines that Belichick may be aiming for the wins record (regular season and postseason) among coaches; the 68-year-old currently ranks third all-time with 311 victories. If the Patriots rediscover their winning ways and earn around nine or 10 victories per season, Reiss guesses that Belichick could pass all-time leader Don Shula in about four seasons.

Some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Patriots linebacker Chase Winovich is focused on adding some weight this offseason. The second-year pro was listed at 250 pounds last year, but he’s looking to make a jump to around 260 pounds. Winovich’s desire for more weight and strength was inspired by former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who suggested that the former third-rounder bulks up. “I looked him in the eyes and said, ‘I’m going to get my weight right,'” Winovich said (via Reiss). “That dude’s words get me fired up.”
  • While the Buccaneers are rostering both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, they still went out and added veteran Giovani Bernard this week. While it might seem like a luxury to add the former Bengals running back, Greg Auman of The Athletic writes that it was more of a necessity. By the writer’s estimation, Buccaneers running backs led the NFL last season in drops, and the pass-catching Bernard will certainly be a welcome addition to the Tom Brady-led offense.
  • Former NFL player Robert Steeples has joined the Vikings as an assistant special teams coach, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). Steeples actually played 12 special teams snaps for Minnesota back in 2013, with his two appearances marking his only NFL experience.

49ers, Seahawks Pursued Giovani Bernard

A free agent for the first time, Giovani Bernard agreed to join the defending Super Bowl champions. But prior to his Buccaneers agreement, the veteran passing-down back received interest from other NFC teams.

The 49ers and Seahawks also attempted to sign the eight-year vet, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson contacted Bernard, per Laine, though Bruce Arians and Tom Brady did as well.

Seattle re-signed Chris Carson and still has former first-round pick Rashaad Penny on its payroll. But the former is not known for his receiving chops, and the latter missed most of last season due to injury. The Seahawks have not incorporated their backs into the receiving game extensively during Wilson’s career. No Seattle back has eclipsed 300 receiving yards since Marshawn Lynch in 2014.

Bernard could have provided an intriguing weapon for the team. Wilson’s effort in attempting to recruit the veteran should also serve as a good sign for his Seattle status, which became uncertain for the first time this offseason.

San Francisco’s cap sheet no longer includes Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon‘s veteran salaries, but the 49ers do still employ key cogs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. Kyle Shanahan, however, valued McKinnon’s passing-game ability when he authorized a then-top-five running back accord in 2017. The 49ers, who saw injuries wreck McKinnon’s chances of living up to that contract, appear to be on the lookout for a receiving back capable of complementing Mostert and Wilson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers To Sign Giovani Bernard

There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about what the Buccaneers’ backfield will look like between Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, but in the meantime they’ve added an outside option.

Tampa has agreed to a one-year deal with Giovani Bernard, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. Bernard was released by the Bengals just last week, and Pelissero reports that Tom Brady and Bruce Arians both helped recruit him to Tampa Bay. Patriots running back James White apparently had interest in joining the Bucs as their third-down back before ultimately re-signing in New England, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

In the same tweet, Rapsheet notes that Bernard also had interest from the Chiefs, so he had his pick of last season’s Super Bowl teams. The Bucs have mostly prioritized locking up all of their own guys, and this is their first significant outside free agent signing of the spring.

He had been set to earn right around $4MM in Cincy in 2021, so it’ll be interesting to see if he beat that when we get the financial terms. A pass-catching specialist who ended up carrying the ball a lot this past year in the wake of Joe Mixon‘s injury, Bernard has 342 receptions for 2,867 yards since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2013.

The North Carolina product spent his first eight seasons with the Bengals. He’ll turn 30 in November, and he should see a lot of targets from Brady, who loves to check down to his ‘backs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.