The Bengals can save $2.8 million in cap space if they release Bernard this offseason, Joe Goodberry of The Athletic reports. The Bengals gave Bernard a two-year extension in September, but the deal doesn't seem to include any guarantees beyond the initial signing bonus. It's a reasonable contract for a solid backup, except for the fact that Bernard doesn't play special teams and didn't get many touches in 2019 (3.3 carries, 2.7 targets per game). With Joe Mixon capable of handling a three-down workload and presumably angling for a contract extension of his own, the Bengals could opt for the discount route at their No. 2 spot in the backfield, potentially looking to 2019 sixth-round draft picks Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson (knee) to fill the opening.
Bernard finished the season with a three-carry, four-yard performance in the Bengals' Week 17 win over the Browns. Bernard saw just 18 offensive snaps, his second fewest of the season. He finished the campaign with 170 rushing yards to go along with 30 catches for 234 receiving yards, failing to reach the end zone in any of his 16 outings. His future with the Bengals would be in question but for a two-year contract extension he signed back in September.
Bernard had only two carries for three yards and two catches for 12 yards in Sunday's loss to the Dolphins despite getting 51 snaps on offense, good for a 57 percent share. Joe Mixon came into the game dealing with the stomach flu, opening up the possibility that Bernard might get a little more work. While he was on the field more often, the Bengals still didn't turn to Bernard in any significant way. He heads into the season finale against Cleveland with exactly 400 scrimmage yards and zero touchdowns on the year, having not topping 46 yards in a game since Week 1.
Bernard had four carries for 15 yards and caught two of three targets for 31 yards in Sunday's loss to the Browns. Joe Mixon once again got the lion's share of work at running back, but Bernard was on the field for 30 offensive snaps, good for 40 percent. This is about the peak expectation for him, absent a Mixon injury.
Bernard rushed once for four yards and caught one of two targets for eight yards in Sunday's win over the Jets. The 28-year-old played a season-low 13 offensive snaps as Joe Mixon dominated the backfield work with 19 carries and four receptions. Bernard now has played only 34 plays on offense over the last two games. Andy Dalton reclaimed the starting job at quarterback and led the Bengals to their first win of the year, but the status quo for the veteran running back remains unchanged.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||Los Angeles Chargers||22||18.88|
|12||11/29||New York Giants||17||17.75|
|3 Year Avg||71||280||2||36||280||1||74|