The Cincinnati Bengals are gearing up for another Super Bowl run and as it turns out, there might be one familiar face that helps them get to Glendale.
ESPN recently released a column targeting a potential cut candidate for each NFL team and as it turns out, Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter Jenna Laine pegged running back Giovani Bernard as the guy who could get released before the season starts.
Laine wrote the following:
“With Leonard Fournette becoming a three-down back, Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s improvement and the Bucs selecting Rachaad White in the third round of the NFL draft, where does that leave Bernard? He’ll be 31 in November, and he caught 23 passes for 123 yards and had 58 rushing yards on eight carries last year. If White assimilates into the Bucs’ system quickly and can consistently pick up a blitz, Bernard could be left out.”
Could Bernard return to Cincinnati?
Laine makes solid points. The Buccaneers have carried four backs on their roster the last two years, but they could very well part ways with Bernard if the rookie White shows that he’s grasped the necessary details to play in 2022.
Regardless, if the Buccaneers do cut Bernard, what are the chances of a Bengals reunion?
Right now, it’s hard to say. The Bengals released Bernard after he refused to take a pay cut, just for him to turn around and sign a veteran minimum deal with the Buccaneers. Bernard made just a little over $1.1 million in 2021.
Was the decision to join the Buccaneers at such a low cost more of Bernard wanting to play with a contender? It seems like it considering Bernard had never seen a playoff win over the course of his eight seasons with the Bengals. And he obviously had no idea the Bengals would have the season they did last year. There’s a chance Bernard sticks around if he knew the Bengals were capable of doing what they did.
However, it’d be reckless to dismiss the fact he could’ve done it with spiteful intentions toward the Bengals, even if that’s not as likely.
Either way, Bernard knew he was heading into a crowded backfield with Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II, and former third-round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn and the Bengals backfield is no different, these days.
But, the Bengals still need some help when it comes to their running backs. Samaje Perine still has question marks and so does second-year back Chris Evans. Adding a vet like Bernard, who has two years of experience in Zac Taylor’s/Brian Callahan’s system, can only help, at the end of the day.
And, he should be rather cheap. Especially considering what he played for last year and considering the Bengals are contenders.
There are some moving parts that need to happen before we see a Bengals-Bernard reunion, but the cards could very well be on the table. It’ll just be a matter of how they’re played over the next month or two.
Featured image via Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports