Bernard, 29, had been with the AFC North franchise since he entered the league in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The eight-year veteran appeared in 115 games for the Bengals.
A source told NFL Network that Bernard requested his release from the team. The dynamic playmaker is known for his pass-catching ability and served as the Bengals' primary backup running back throughout his tenure.
Bernard had at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first three seasons. He had 771 yards from scrimmage, six touchdowns and a career-high 10 starts in 2020.
Bernard had a $3.7 million base salary and carried a $4.7 million salary cap in 2021. He was scheduled to become a free agent next off-season. The team saved $4.1 million against the cap with Bernard's release.
Four-year veteran Joe Mixon tops the Bengals depth chart at running back. The Bengals also have running backs Samaje Perine, Trayveon Williams and Jacques Patrick on their roster.
The Bengals ranked 24th in rushing yards last season. Mixon missed 10 games in 2020 due to a foot injury.