The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given quarterback Tom Brady another offensive option as they signed running back Giovani Bernard to a one-year deal. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Buccaneers signed Bernard days after he was released by the Cincinnati Bengals after eight seasons with the team. In a tweet, Pelissero said Brady and head coach Bruce Arians both personally recruited Bernard, one of the NFL’s best receiving backs, following his release from Cincinnati.

Bernard, a second-round pick out of North Carolina in the 2013 NFL Draft, recorded 6,500 yards of total offense and 33 touchdowns in 115 games during his eight-year stay in Cincinnati.

The Buccaneers’ backfield is already fortified with No. 1 rusher Ronald Jones and No. 2 Leonard Fournette, who returned after signing a one-year deal recently. However, the Buccaneers need a pass-catching running back to give Brady another target, something that Jones and Fournette failed to provide last season. In the regular season, Fournette had 36 catches for 233 yards and a score while Jones caught 28 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. In his career with the Bengals, Bernard caught 342 passes for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last season, Bernard had 47 receptions for 355 yards and three touchdowns for Cincinnati.

James White interested in joining Patriots

Pelissero said New England Patriots running back James White was interested in joining Brady in Tampa Bay when he hit free agency, but he decided to remain with the Patriots on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, per a report by Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

Earlier, former Patriots linebacker and current football analyst Tedy Bruschi declared that the addition of a pass-catching rusher like White would boost Brady’s chances of winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles with the Buccaneers.

Brady and White won three Super Bowls together with the Patriots. In his seven years in New England, White had 359 catches for 3,184 yards and 25 touchdowns, 24 coming from Brady.

Bucs have luxury of choosing prospect

After winning their first Super Bowl title since 2002 with a 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers will pick No.

32 in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft With the Buccaneers bringing back all of their 22 starters from last season’s Super Bowl squad, Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com said Tampa Bay general manager, Jason Licht, has the chance of choosing a prospect who may take a while to develop into an impact player for the franchise. "Of course, in the perfect world you'd want to pick players that can come in and help and contribute right away," Licht said. According to the mock draft of USA Today’s Luke Easterling, the Buccaneers may take Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore in the first round.

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