Bernard has spent all eight years of his career with the Bengals, but he will be looking for a new home in 2021. He signed a two-year, $9.7M contract extension with the Bengals before the start of last season, but the team reportedly asked him to take a pay cut for next season. Instead, Bernard asked the team for his outright release. The move will save the Bengals $4.2M against the salary cap, and they can almost certainly find a better way to allocate those funds. Bernard was the clear backup behind Joe Mixon, and he’s averaged 3.4 yards per carry or less in each of the past two seasons.
With Bernard now out of the picture, Mixon has a chance to assume a true three-down role with the Bengals next season. He’s never had more than 43 receptions in his career, although he was on pace to shatter that mark last season. He averaged a career-best 4.3 targets per game in six contests.
Unfortunately, the Bengals are not expected to be very good next season. Joe Burrow could be back under center in Week 1 — he’s reportedly “on pace” in his recovery from surgery on his ACL and LCL — but the Bengals are listed at +8000 to win Super Bowl LVI on FanDuel Sportsbook.
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