Pelissero mentions that Bucs HC Bruce Arians and QB Tom Brady both recruited Bernard to sign with Tampa Bay.
Bernard reportedly asked for his release after Cincinnati approached him about a pay cut two weeks into free agency.
It’s worth mentioning that signing Bernard to a contract won’t impact the Bucs’ 2022 compensatory picks, given that he was released this offseason.
Bernard, 29, is a former second-round pick of the Bengals back in 2013. He played out his rookie contract before agreeing to a four-year, $16.6 million contract that included $5 million guaranteed with the Bengals in 2016.
Bernard was set to be an unrestricted free agent last offseason but Cincinnati re-signed him to a two-year, $10.3 million extension. He was set to earn a base salary of $3,700,000 in 2021 when the Bengals released him a few weeks ago.
In 2020, Bernard appeared in all 16 games and recorded 124 rushing attempts for 416 yards (3.4 YPC) and three touchdowns, to go along with 47 receptions for 355 yards (7.6 YPC) and three touchdowns.
We had him included in our Top 100 Available 2021 Free Agents list.