Giovani Bernard

Bengals, Giovani Bernard Agree To Extension

The Bengals are signing Giovani Bernard to a two-year, $10.3MM extension, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The deal will give him a raise to $5.9MM this year and $11MM over both years, including a $600K guaranteed bonus due in March. 

Bernard is no longer the go-to running back in Cincinnati – that’s the role filled by Joe Mixon – but Bernard is still a locker room leader and an important part of the game plan. With the new deal, he’s locked down through 2021.

The 27-year-old (28 in November) was limited to only 12 games in 2018, compiling 211 rushing yards and three scores on 56 carries. He also added another 35 receptions for 218 yards.

Mixon may be the man, for now, but Bernard is always one play away from resuming top billing. Years ago, everyone thought Jeremy Hill would leave Bernard in the dust, and we all saw how that turned out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bernard, Gronk, Cardinals

Giovani Bernard was consistently one of the Bengals‘ most versatile offensive weapons during Marvin Lewis‘ tenure with the organization, but new head coach Zac Taylor is seemingly taking that to a whole new level. According to Michael LaPlaca of, Bernard was used in a variety of different ways during OTAs, including reps at wide receiver.

“I’ve always been the type of guy when my opportunity arises is to go out and play, play hard, play for your team,” Bernard said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. We have to play for each other. It’s not about the stats, it’s not about how many plays I get. I just want to go out there when my number is called and make the play.”

The 27-year-old was limited to only 12 games in 2018, compiling 211 rushing yards and three scores on 56 carries. He also added another 35 receptions for 218 yards.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Those hoping for a Rob Gronkowski return probably won’t be thrilled with the former tight end’s physique. As Henry McKenna of USA Today observed, Gronk showed up to the premier of Patriots teammate Julian Edelman‘s documentary looking skinnier than every before. While the six-foot-seven touchdown machine is still plenty tall, he’s clearly slimmed down, and there’s little chance he’d be in any kind of condition to play in the NFL. Gronk already denied talks of a comeback earlier this month.
  • The Cardinals offense under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury continues to be a mystery, although rookie quarterback Kyler Murray referred to the scheme as “explosive.” ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss tried to predict what’s in store in Arizona, opining that the offense will use the shotgun, will be fast, and will spread the field, all while being balanced. Weinfuss also notes that running back David Johnson is expected to play a major role.
  • A fifth player has seemingly declared for the NFL Supplemental Draft, University of St. Francis (IL) defensive back Bryant Perry will be working out for teams next week.

Bengals RB Giovani Bernard To Miss Time

Running back Giovani Bernard did an admirable job of holding down the fort while Joe Mixon missed two weeks of action. Unfortunately, Bernard is now dealing with an injury of his own. The veteran will be out for 2-4 weeks with an MCL sprain, a source tells Tom Pelissero of (on Twitter). 

At minimum, Bernard will be sidelined for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins and the following week’s contest against the rival Steelers. Beyond that, Bernard is in jeopardy of missing games against the Chiefs and Bucs. The good news is that the Bengals have a Week 9 bye, so he’ll have some extra time to rest his knee in early November.

In the past two games, Bernard has scored three touchdowns while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. His presence will be missed, but the Bengals’ rushing attack should be just fine if Mixon can resume his usual workload on Sunday.

Without Bernard, Mark Walton will assume the No. 2 RB role. The recently signed Thomas Rawls is also on hand as a depth option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Raiders, Carr, Bengals, Bernard

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has “complete faith” that a deal will get done before training camp, as Anthony Galaviz of the Fresno Bee writes.

I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and [GM Reggie McKenzie] will work it out. I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players,” Carr said. “These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”

Recently, McKenzie also expressed confidence in a deal getting done this summer. If both men are to be believed, then it might not be long before we see Carr sign on the dotted line.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Bengals running back Giovani Bernard is expected to be a limited participant at OTAs, according to Katherine Terrell of (on Twitter). Bernard suffered a torn ACL in November and is still on the mend. In ten games last year, Bernard ran for 337 yards off of 91 carries and added 39 receptions for 336 yards.
  • Free agent tight end Gary Barnidge says that he’s in a holding pattern since a lot of teams are waiting to evaluate their rosters in OTAs and minicamp (Twitter links via SiriusXM), but he says he has no problem with waiting. He added that while he would like to be the No. 1 tight end wherever he signs, he’s also OK with a mentor type of role. We learned on Monday that Barnidge has been contacted by some of his former coaches who are now with the Broncos. He previously visited with the Bills and he has also heard from the Jaguars and Panthers.
  • On Tuesday, the league will vote on whether to permit a team to negotiate with a head coach candidate during the postseason before his season ends, according to Ian Rapoport of (Twitter links). The league will also vote on whether to change the anti-tampering policy definition of a GM to the team’s main football exec, even if he doesn’t have control of the 53-man roster.

Giovani Bernard Tears ACL

After the sobering news of A.J. Green‘s hamstring tear potentially shelving him for the season, the Bengals look set to play without Giovani Bernard as well.

The Bengals’ top pass-catching running back tore his left ACL against the Bills today, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter). Ian Rapoport of confirms this diagnosis (Twitter link) in what’s become a dreadful day for a franchise that will be missing a massive chunk of its receiving yardage going forward.

Bernard’s injury occurred on the Bengals’ final drive, one that fell short of the end zone as the Bills held on to the road victory. The fourth-year running back caught four passes on Cincinnati’s ill-fated march and did not require a game-stopping sequence to be helped off. But his season appears to be over, with the fortunes of the Bengals having taken a drastic turn for the worse.

Playing again in a timeshare with Jeremy Hill, Bernard totaled 673 yards from scrimmage this season. The former second-round pick who signed an extension this offseason was likely heading toward a fourth straight season with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage. He eclipsed 1,200 in the two years in which he played all 16 regular-season games — 2013 and ’15. Bernard entered this season having never played fewer than 13 in a campaign.

In losing Green and Bernard, the Bengals will be without their Nos. 1 and 3 receiving options. Both are signed to long-term deals, however. Bernard’s extension years will begin in 2017, with the former North Carolina running back being on the Bengals’ books for $3.75MM next season.

Cincinnati dropped to 3-6-1 today and is likely going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals, Giovani Bernard Finalizing Extension

The Bengals and running back Giovani Bernard are finalizing a three-year, $15.5MM contract extension, a source tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). The deal will put Bernard in the top ten of “new money” given annually to running backs (link). The team has since confirmed the deal via press release.

[RELATED: Tyler Eifert Could Miss Season Opener]

The tailback will make $6MM+ in 2016, per Pelissero. The deal is up after the 2019 season, at which point he’ll still only be 28 years old and primed for another big money deal. In the interim, Bernard has some financial security and a pay bump from his old rookie scale contract.Giovani Bernard (vertical)

Bernard, 24, has been a big part of the Bengals’ running game since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2013. Last year, many expected Bernard to fade into the background with big-play back Jeremy Hill taking the reins. However, that wasn’t the case. Bernard ran for a career-high 730 yards with two scores while catching 49 passes for 472 yards. The reliable, all-purpose back was originally slated to hit the open market after the 2016 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Notes: Dalton, Burfict, Green, Bernard

In the wake of Colin Kaepernick‘s extension, it’s going to be tough for the Bengals to offer Andy Dalton anything less than $18MM annually, writes Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Dalton (whom I recently profiled as an extension candidate) would probably need to indicate that he is amendable to a team-friendly structure that would not overwhelmingly restrict Cincinnati’s salary cap space. Former agent Joel Corry believes that Dalton could accept a contract similar to Kaepernick’s, provided that the AAV is similar. “There’s got to be some sort of interplay,” says Corry. “The better the structure, the more flexibility I had on dollars because you can’t have your cake and eat it, too, particularly when you are under contract for years.”

More notes from Cincinnati:

  • Within the same piece, Dehner Jr. observes that Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict would have to accept a heavy discount in order to sign an extension now, as Cincinnati controls his rights in 2014 for a mere $570K, and can slap a first-round tender on him in 2015, holding him as a restricted free agent for about $3.3MM.
  • Dehner Jr. also believes the Bengals are closely watching for negotiations between the Dez Bryant and the Cowboys, as a deal between the two sides could serve as a baseline for talks with receiver A.J. Green, whom the Bengals control for two more seasons.
  • Second-year running back Giovani Bernard is expected to open the 2014 season as the Bengals starter, and he hopes to produce more big plays on offense, per Coley Harvey of “If you’re a running back, you always want to be able to have explosive runs,” said the 2013 second-rounder. “Maybe not so much just the 10-yard runs or 15-yard runs or the 20. I want to be able to break the 50s, 60s and 70s. And who knows? Maybe the 80s and 90s. Things like that take hard work and dedication. That’s really where your skills come into play is on those explosive runs.”
  • In his latest mailbag, Harvey notes that linebacker Emmanuel Lamur, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, will be relied on in 2014, and will especially aid in coverage, an area where the Bengals struggled in 2013. Lamur is expected to serve as the starting strong-side linebacker next season.

AFC Mailbags: Bengals, Steelers, Colts, Jags

ESPN’s NFL writers answered questions from their readers this weekend. Let’s take a look at some interesting notes from the AFC…