The NFL Draft is still over two weeks away, yet the Bucs roster is almost completely set for the 2021 season. Their two latest signings, RB Giovani Bernard and the return of CB Ross Cockrell, help continue to fill out critical depth on a roster looking to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

According to The Athletic’s Greg Auman, the Bucs landed Bernard at just under $1.1 million, although the 29-year old ex-Bengal will only count for $987K against the cap this season. As for Cockrell, the journeyman cornerback got a two-year, $2.1 million deal with the Bucs, with some play time incentives mixed in.

Bernard will open the season as the Bucs top receiving back, expecting to see the field on the majority of long and late downs. Bernard, widely considered to be one of the best pass protecting backs in the NFL, has reeled in at least 30 passes every year of his career. Receiving and blocking are two areas where the Bucs 2020 running back room struggled, so Bernard’s presence should help alleviate some critical concerns. Bernard finished last season with 124 carries for 416 yards and three touchdowns, while catching 47 passes for 355 yards and an additional three scores.

As for Cockrell, he’ll begin training camp as the team’s No. 4 cornerback, with the ability to play inside or outside in a pinch. Cockrell provided valuable depth for the Bucs last season when Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean missed a couple games due to injuries. The former Duke Blue Devil finished the 2020 campaign with 11 tackles and one pass breakup, earning two starts.

The Bucs have now re-signed 12 of their own free agents this offseason, with Bernard the lone new signing. The only free agents from last year’s team that remain unsigned are WR Antonio Brown, DT Steve McLendon, RB LeSean McCoy, QB Blaine Gabbert, QB Ryan Griffin, RB T.J. Logan, RB Kenjon Barner and LB Deone Bucannon.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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27 days ago

Not bad at all. I think both will contribute this year. Good value and depth…

27 days ago

I Love that we resigned Russ Cockrell, however Idk if the G. Bernard signing means the Bucs are out of the running for a pass catching RB/WR hybrid player like Kenneth Gainwell or Demetric Felton, Michael Carter or even Kadarius Toney in the draft now. If so I don’t think I like it as it’d be nice to have a younger, more explosive guy at that position and I like a few of them coming out this year. Shoot, include Najee Harris and Travis Etienne and, to a lesser extent, Javonte Williams, on that list of guys we’re probably not… Read more »

Reply to  IDGABuc
27 days ago

I have to think that with Jones and Fournette as early down ball carriers and depth for one another, and with Gio signed, this pretty well takes us out of considering a RB in the first round. Had the offseason gone differently, and Fournette left for Seattle and Gio not been released by Cincy, it would have been highly considered by the team. But I really can’t see it now. Depending on how the rest of our draft goes up until a point later in the draft, I’d be thrilled to take Gainwell in the 4th, and happy to get… Read more »

The Freeman
27 days ago

i was waiting the contract number… now i really love it!

Reply to  The Freeman
27 days ago

You’re not kidding. This is a crazy steal. Should be illegal.

27 days ago

Holy crap, Bernard at just a hair over the veteran minimum? That is absurd value. For what he brings to a team as a player, I think the value of his contributions would be right around $3M per year. I’m sure this won’t seem like a big deal to most fans, but wow, that is CHEAP for who and what he does for an offense. Sneakily one of the better signings by any team of the offseason from a value standpoint.

27 days ago

Wow. Essentially the veteran minimum. Licht continues to win the off-season. Well played again!

27 days ago

Gio at half the price of James White. Wow.
No wonder AB is sulking.

27 days ago

Great value for two players who will contribute positively this season. Licht still hitting home runs.

26 days ago

Tampa will be taking a QB at some point this draft. Imo, Brady knows that the only reason Tampa would take a QB is because they are just trying to develop him to take over once brady says HE’S ready to retire. This is nothing like new England. Our front office listens to Brady and takes what he says very seriously. Brady won his rings because of continuity in the entire