Shark Bites

The Bucs signed RB Gio Bernard, 5 days after he was dumped by the Bengals. The 29-year-old has averaged less than 4 yards per carry in 3 straight seasons. But he's remained useful in the passing game, catching 112 balls and averaging 7.2 yards per. Bernard will be no better than 3rd in line for carries in the Bucs backfield behind Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones but could siphon receptions from both guys.

The Bengals released RB Gio Bernard, saving $4.2 million against the 2021 salary cap. Bernard has been a thorn in RB Joe Mixon's side, averaging 3.5 targets and 2.6 catches per game over the past 4 season. Cincinnati now has only Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams behind Mixon on the depth chart. We'll see if they make any additions, but Mixon should be in for more work in the passing game this season. The 29-year-old Bernard, meanwhile, is unlikely to be a 2021 fantasy factor.

Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians earned RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn some headlines Wednesday by saying that he expects a "breakout" from the 2nd-year back. But don't get too excited. Asked to assess his backfield headed toward the 2021 season, Arians told Pewter Report: “Those guys are all here and know what the system is and the best players are going to play. Obviously we have two really, really good ones at that position and I really like Ke’Shawn Vaughn. I think that with an offseason he’s going to have a breakout year also. All of those roles will be defined by the time that we get to the last week of the preseason.” Basically any level of relevance for Vaughn could be considered a breakout after he amassed just 26-109 rushing and a 5-34-1 receiving line. If the Bucs were truly excited about him, then fully guaranteeing Leonard Fournette's $3.25 million contract would seem unnecessary. Arians also didn't rule out drafting another RB. We'll see what Vaughn can do this summer, but we're not going out of our way to draft him for best-ball rosters right now.

Bucs TE O.J. Howard has been setback-free so far in his recovery from October's torn Achilles, HC Bruce Arians said Tuesday. Arians added that Howard is "real close" to getting back to pre-injury form, although that seems optimistic for an injury that often takes a year-plus to return from. It does sound like he has a good chance to be ready for the start of the 2021 campaign. It's worth remembering that Howard out-targeted TE Rob Gronkowski 19 to 14 over the first 4 games of last season.

RB Leonard Fournette has re-signed a 1-year deal with the Bucs. He gets $3.25 million with a chance to make up to $4 million via incentives, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Fournette had a rocky regular season in Tampa last year but was awesome in 4 postseason contests, carrying 64 times for 300 yards (4.7 YPC) and 3 TDs and hauling in 18 of 21 targets for 148 yards (8.2 YPC) and another score. He figures to operate in a committee alongside RB Ronald Jones in 2021, but Fournette's pass-catching ability makes him the more attractive fantasy target. Check out our updated projections for the Bucs backfield.

The Bucs inked K Ryan Succop to a new 3-year, $12 million deal. Succop drilled 28 of 31 FG attempts last season, although he missed 5 XPs. He still finished as a top 8 fantasy K. And with the Bucs bringing the band back together for 2021, Succop will be a strong option in drafts.

The Bucs and TE Rob Gronkowski have agreed to a new 1-year, $10 million deal. Gronk was always expected to return to Tampa to make a run at another Super Bowl and has been projected that way in our rankings. He played in all 16 regular-season games last year for the 1st time since 2011, compiling a 45-623-7 line on 77 targets. That landed him 8th among TEs in PPR points. Gronk benefitted from injuries to both WR Chris Godwin and TE O.J. Howard, who will be back for 2021, so we have him projected for fewer targets and fantasy points.

The Buccaneers have reached a 4-year deal to keep OLB Shaq Barrett from reaching free agency. Agent Drew Rosenhaus says it carries a top value of $72 million, with $36 million of that guaranteed. Barrett has emerged as 1 of the league's top pass rushers over his 2 seasons in Tampa Bay. He fell from a league-high 19.5 sacks in 2019 to just 8 last season, but Barrett's 76 total pressures ranked 2nd only to Aaron Donald.

The Bucs and QB Tom Brady agreed to a 1-year contract extension. He's now signed through the 2022 season -- but the real reason for this move is the $19 million it saves Tampa against the cap this year. Brady remained plenty effective in 2020, chucking for 4,633 yards and 40 TDs and finishing 7th among QBs in fantasy points. It's certainly possible that he plays at least 2 more seasons with the Bucs.

The Buccaneers have agreed to a 2-year, $25 million extension with LB Lavonte David, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The deal keeps David from reaching unrestricted free agency and continues his run with the only team he has ever played for. Expect to find David remaining among the top 15 LBs when our 2021 IDP rankings arrive.

Update: NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that it's actually a 5-year deal with 3 voidable seasons. So we'll see just how many of them David plays.

The Buccaneers are placing the franchise tag on WR Chris Godwin, according to multiple reports. Barring a trade, that locks in a 2021 return for Godwin. We'll see whether the 2 sides work out a longer-term deal before the deadline. Godwin slipped last season from his monster 2019 production, but he still ranked 15th among wideouts in PPR points per game. Expect him to battle Mike Evans once again for the top fantasy score among Bucs receivers. His return suppresses the upside of 2nd-year WR Tyler Johnson, but it keeps QB Tom Brady working with 1 of the league's best WR tandems. We'll see what Tampa elects to do with WR Antonio Brown, who is headed for free agency this month.

Bucs QB Tom Brady will undergo what HC Bruce Arians described as "clean-up" surgery on his left knee. That's the knee in which Brady tore his ACL back in 2008. He hasn't missed a game due to injury since. We'll keep an eye on Brady's status this offseason, but this shouldn't impact his 2021 campaign.

Bucs TE Cameron Brate (back) is active for the Super Bowl. He was added to the injury report on Thursday and then didn’t practice on Friday. Brate has caught 11 of 16 targets in Tampa’s 3 playoffs wins, but there’s a chance that he’s limited tonight.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown (knee) is active for the Super Bowl. He got in full practices on Thursday and Friday, so he should be close to 100%.

Bucs TE Cameron Brate (back) is questionable for the Super Bowl. After being added to the injury report on Thursday, he didn't practice on Friday. We'll get Brate's game status around 5 pm ET on Sunday. His absence would mean a boost in projections for both TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Antonio Brown.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown (knee) is listed as questionable for the Super Bowl. He put in full practices on Thursday and Friday, so it'd be a surprise if he doesn't play. Brown has averaged 7.2 targets, 5.2 catches and 59 yards in 9 healthy games with the Bucs. But he's played fewer than 50% of the snaps in 3 of the last 5 as Tampa has deployed more 2-TE sets. That could change on Sunday if TE Cameron Brate (back) is unable to play.

Bucs TE Cameron Brate was added to Thursday's injury report as limited with a back. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Brate is dealing with "discomfort" and was pulled from practice "out of an abundance of caution." It sounds like he'll be fine for the Super Bowl, but check back Friday afternoon for another update.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown (knee) was upgraded to a full participant in Thursday's practice. He's set to play in the Super Bowl. Brown's playing time was on the decline even before his injury as Tampa moved to more 2-TE sets. We're expecting a similar game plan on Sunday.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown (knee) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. It's an upgrade after he sat out all week leading up to the NFC Championship. Brown is seemingly on track to return for Sunday's Super Bowl.

Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield (ankle) is inactive for today's game against the Packers. He sustained an ankle injury during the practice week. Mike Edwards will start in his place. Losing a starting safety certainly doesn't help the defense, but it's worth noting that Edwards actually graded out significantly better in coverage (83.2) this season than Winfield (55.1), according to Pro Football Focus.

 
 
 

Dominate Your Fantasy Football Draft

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Download on Google Play