Long time Cincinnati Bengals backup and sometimes starter, Giovani Bernard has been released. Bernard was asked to take a pay cut to return and in turn he asked to be released after eight years with the team, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo.
Bernard has been a big contributor to Cincinnati, as he often has taken over as lead back when the starter went down. But his usual job was as receiving back. He’s a versatile player, but last season was one of his worst, as he took over for the injured Joe Mixon, but averaged just 3.4 yards per carry. He did still catch 47 passes for 355 yards and caught three touchdowns while rushing for three more.
It's the end of the run for one of the more popular #Bengals players.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) April 7, 2021
Gio ranks seventh in franchise history in rushing yards (3,697); ninth in scrimmage yards (6,564); and fifth in touches (1,263).
With Bernard gone, it appears that Samaje Perine will get the first crack at the backup job after averaging 4.8 yards per carry on 63 attempts for three touchdowns. But Trayveon Williams also has a shot at picking up work. Of course, the team could also draft a running back to compete with those two. Perine did impress the team though, and if Mixon were to have injury trouble again, he’s first in line at the moment.
In the end, the team was ready to move on because they feel good about Joe Mixon’s health. Last season Mixon only played in six games with an injured foot. Mixon should continue to see a decent workload as a receiver and the bulk of the early down work. He’s not a sexy name in fantasy, but his usage should be great.
Bernard is good at a lot of things and will land with a new team. He won’t be a starter, but could find another role like he had in Cincinnati and possible with a team in better shape along the offensive line. He won’t be draftable in most leagues, but we may not be done with him on the waiver wire in 2021.