It’s been an interesting offseason when it comes to Cincinnati Bengals running back, Giovani Bernard. He was the subject of some unsubstantiated trade rumors early in the summer, but the team did a one-eighty from those rumors and just signed him to a two-year extension.
The deal keeps him in Cincinnati through the 2021 season and it could be Bernard’s last deal of his career. Regardless, Bernard is a valued member of the Bengals because of his three-way versatility (rushing, receiving and blocking).
While we have to feel good for Bernard, who is known as a locker room staple, there are pros and cons to weigh with this move. It also comes at an interesting time with the Week 1 showdown against the Seahawks kicking off this Sunday.
Potential uptick in performance under Zac Taylor: We can credit Marvin Lewis for drafting the versatile Bernard, which was a big need at the time, but one could argue he’s been criminally under-used as a player in the Bengals’ offense. This could change under Taylor, who not only has a more progressive mind, when it comes to offensive schemes, but also in his desire to get backs heavily involved in the system.
Multi-dimensional: As briefly mentioned above, Bernard is a Swiss Army knife player for the Bengals. He often plays bigger than his size, showing a willingness to pound the ball between the tackles for tough yards and stick his helmet in their to pass-protect.
Great character guy: Early upon taking the Bengals’ head coaching job, Taylor preached character when constructing his football team. Few players on the roster have the high-level reputation of Bernard, and he is being rightfully rewarded for it with a third contract.
Durability—from multiple standpoints: We know that the shelf-life of NFL running backs is often short, so paying a third contract to the position isn’t always known as sound strategy. Additionally, he has missed 13 games in his six seasons, which not only includes four from last season, but a I.R. designation in 2016.
High salary for a rotational back: One could argue that an estimated $6 million per year salary over the next three seasons, which is what the early numbers project, is heavy for a rotational back. That’s particularly the case for a guy like Bernard, who turns 28 years old this season.
What about other deals?: Of course, the burning question here is in what this means for another contract with A.J. Green. He’s currently injured, but should play the bulk of the season, if things go well, and will be seeking a final deal to stay with the Bengals. The team may also want to continue tweaking the roster this year and we know they like to use these internal extensions as reasons for not signing more outside help.
What do you think about the Giovani Bernard contract?
Did the Bengals make the right move in extending Giovani Bernard?
This poll is closed
I don’t know.