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Last Updated: April 12, 2021

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Cincinnati Bengals Decide to Release Veteran Running Back Giovani Bernard


On Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 the Cincinnati Bengals have decided to release their veteran running back, Giovani Bernard, after eight seasons as a premier rusher for the franchise. The 29-year-old has spent his entire 8-year career (2013-2020) in the National Football League with the Cincinnati Bengals, but now Bernard is an unrestricted free agent heading in to the 2021-2022 NFL season.

Bernard was previously scheduled to enter the last year of a 2-year contract extension that he agreed to with the Cincinnati Bengals back in September of 2019. By releasing Giovani, the Cincinnati Bengals will free up $4.1 million in salary-cap space, and the organization will only sustain $666,667 in dead money that will count against the salary-cap.

Football Background

Giovani was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, and he attended Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he excelled at football. He originally committed to the University of Notre Dame to play collegiate ball for the fighting Irish, but Bernard ultimately decided to enroll at the University of North Carolina.

He played at UNC for 2 years from 2011 to 2012. Throughout his time playing football for the Tar Heels Giovani rushed for 2,481 yards and 25 touchdowns on 423 carries as he averaged 5.9 yards per attempt. He also pulled in 92 receptions for 852 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns as he averaged 9.3 yards per catch.

Professional Football Career

With the 37th overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft the Cincinnati Bengals selected Giovani Bernard, and although he was not always the starting running back for the Bengals throughout his career in the National Football League, he was very productive on the gridiron playing for Cincinnati. Over the course of the past 8 NFL seasons, Giovani appeared in 115 games, and he started 30 of them. Bernard rushed for 3,697 yards and 22 touchdowns on 921 carries, and he racked up 2,867 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions on 342 completions.

Last year during the 2020-2021 NFL season Giovani started a career-high 10 contests due to the fact that their number 1 running back, Joe Mixon, suffered a foot injury that sidelined him for a great portion of the football season. Bernard had his best game last year on a Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in which Giovani rushed for 83 yards as he helped the Cincinnati Bengals win the game. That was the Bengals’ first defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the 2015-2016 NFL season, and it was Bernard’s highest rushing effort since the 16th week of the 2017-2018 season of the National Football League.

Mixon recently signed a four-year contract extension worth up to $48 million just last year, and Joe had this to say about Bernard on the day his release was announced: “No better friend, teammate and mentor than @G_bernard25 (Giovani Bernard). I’ll always cherish our time together and can’t thank him enough for all he has meant to my career. Wherever he goes is getting a great player and even better person.”

Other Cincinnati Bengal Stars Recently Let Go

Bernard was not the only star player for the Cincinnati Bengals that was sent packing during this 2021 NFL offseason. The franchise also released their superstar veteran NFL All-Pro defensive tackle, Geno Atkins, back on March 19th, 2021. Atkins played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2010 to 2020, and Geno remains an unrestricted free agent at the moment who is looking for a new team to sign him.

The Cincinnati Bengals decided not to resign their veteran NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver A. J. Green too. Green just signed a 1-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on March 17th, 2021, and that deal is reportedly valued at $8.5 million in which $6 million of it is fully guaranteed money for the superstar wide receiver. A. J. had previously played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011 to 2020.

Bernard’s Career Achievements, Honors, and Awards

  • PFWA All – Rookie Team (2013)
  • Third – Team All – American (2012)
  • First – Team All – ACC (2011, 2012)
  • ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2012)
  • CFPA Punt Returner Trophy (2012)

Odds to Win Super Bowl LVI

According to Intertops sportsbook, these are the odds to win Super Bowl LVI as of Thursday, April 8th, 2021. Currently, the Cincinnati Bengals have the third worst odds to win the upcoming Super Bowl LVI.

Team                                                   Odds
Kansas City Chiefs                             +450
Tampa Bay Buccaneers                      +700
Green Bay Packers                             +1000
Buffalo Bills                                       +1100
Los Angeles Rams                              +1200
San Francisco 49ers                            +1400
Baltimore Ravens                               +1800
Indianapolis Colts                               +2000
New Orleans Saints                            +2200
Cleveland Browns                              +2200
Seattle Seahawks                                +2500
Miami Dolphins                                  +2500
New England Patriots                         +2800
Los Angeles Chargers                         +2800
Dallas Cowboys                                  +2800
Tennessee Titans                                +2800
Pittsburgh Steelers                              +3300
Arizona Cardinals                              +3300
Chicago Bears                                     +4000
Minnesota Vikings                             +5000
Carolina Panthers                               +5000
Atlanta Falcons                                   +6600
New York Giants                                +6600
Denver Broncos                                  +6600
Las Vegas Raiders                              +6600
Washington Football Team                +6600
Philadelphia Eagles                            +8000
New York Jets                                     +8000
Jacksonville Jaguars                           +10000
Cincinnati Bengals                            +10000
Houston Texans                                  +15000
Detroit Lions                                      +15000



Baby, Ben. “Cincinnati Bengals release RB Giovani Bernard after eight seasons”ESPN. April 7, 2021.

“Giovani Bernard”, Pro Football Reference. April 8, 2021.

“Giovani Bernard”, Sports Reference College Football. April 8, 2021.

“United States, NFL Futures, NFL 2021 / 22 Super Bowl LVI: To Win Outright”, Intertops Sportsbook. April 8, 2021.

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