The Bengals announced on Wednesday morning they have released RB Giovani Bernard.
We have released HB Giovani Bernard.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) April 7, 2021
Mike Garafolo reports Bernard asked the team to be released. The Bengals asked him to take a pay cut two weeks into free agency when most of the money elsewhere had dried up.
Bernard had been mentioned as a potential cap cut earlier this offseason given his age, salary and position. But he’s been a beloved leader and role player in Cincinnati since being drafted and the team seemed inclined to keep him
In addition, the Bengals reportedly had trade interest in Bernard, which makes an outright release instead of a trade more surprising.
According to Over The Cap, releasing Bernard creates $4.1 million in cap space for the Bengals.
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.
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.