The Cincinnati Bengals made a move at running back Wednesday, releasing veteran RB Giovani Bernard, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The veteran Bernard has played his whole eight-year career for Cincinnati since landing with the Bengals in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Bernard was a top-20 PPR running back each of his first three years, but he has finished no better than RB27 in the five years since. His departure should lock Joe Mixon in for even more work going forward, though the team is likely to add another back before the season.
Fantasy slant: This felt both inevitable and necessary. The 29-year-old Bernard has seen declines in both his yards per carry (under 4.0 in four of the last five years) and yards per reception (under 8.0 each of the last three), and there's little reason to expect it to rebound as he approaches 30. The move will save the Bengals more than $4 million against the cap, and Bernard's level of production is the kind that should be reasonably easy to find, either on the free agent market (Duke Johnson? The return of Rex Burkhead?) or in this month's NFL draft. Either way, Mixon, assuming health, should have even more of a bell cow role than he did when healthy last year, locking him into an RB1 role. -- Daniel Kelley