The Jaguars may have an opportunity to address its offensive backfield further this offseason.
While the team has already signed a running back in Carlos Hyde — his second stint with the team —, the franchise could use further help, and with former Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard now on the open market, they could find that help sooner rather than later.
We have released HB Giovani Bernard.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) April 7, 2021
Yesterday, Bernard was officially released by the Bengals after spending eight seasons with the team. While he was no longer the team’s primary running back, usurped by Joe Mixon over the past few seasons, he still added plenty of value as a receiving back, something the Jaguars desperately need to address.
Bernard, 5-foot-9, 205 pounds, has been one of the league’s most successful receiving backs since entering the league as a second round pick by the Bengals in 2013. In his career, he has caught 342 passes for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has ran the football 921 times for 3,697 yards and 22 touchdowns during that same span.
The Jaguars added Hyde during the offseason, but have made no further moves to replace last year’s third-down running back Chris Thompson. Bernard would bring that element back to the team with James Robinson still able to carry the load the majority of downs.
Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer stated prior to the start of free agency that the team wanted “to build a room with [Robinson] being an integral part of it.”
General manager Trent Baalke doubled down Meyer’s statement about building the running back room around Robinson, while stating that the team would “have to add some explosiveness” to the position group, too.
“You can only ride a horse so long,” Baalke said just shortly prior to free agency in March.
“He’s done a great job, he will continue to do a great job for the organization, and we feel he’ll even take a step forward from where he was a year ago. But adding some competitiveness to that room, we feel we’ve got some guys in house that can compete for roles, but we’re certainly looking to add to that room as well.”
The Jaguars haven’t been shy this offseason about loading up on talent. The team heavily targeted the defensive line in free agency, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them continue to add to the depth later this month in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The team will have an opportunity to add to its running back depth in the coming weeks, but should they seize the opportunity to add a proven vet right now?