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Why The Bengals Must Cut Ties With This Elite Player In 2023

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

The 2023 offseason will heat up at some point due to teams needing to either trade, cut, or release players to clear cap space. The Bengals face a difficult situation regarding their star running back, Joe Mixon. Paying Joe Burrow the big bucks will need to happen soon, and the Bengals do not have the money for both. So where does Cincinnati go from here? Let’s discuss this.

Move On From Joe Mixon

Heading into 2023, Mixon carries a cap hit that is just over $12.7 million. Heading into 2023, Mixon has the seventh-largest cap hit among NFL running backs. The only similarity between those running backs is that none played in the Super Bowl this season. So clearly, there is a lack of production among running backs who are paid lots of money.

Mixon finished the 2022 season with only 814 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He also contributed 441 receiving yards and two touchdowns but averaged only 3.9 yards per carry. Based on all of that, Mixon did not earn the $11.4 million he was paid.

So where does that leave the Bengals? Their secondary back Samaje Perine averaged more yards per carry in 2022 but only made $1.8 million. Perine also played 20 more snaps in the AFC championship than Mixon did. It is clear that Mixons fall off is hurting his snap count, and thus moving on from Mixon is the obvious choice. The Bengals will save around ten million in cap space if they designate him as a post-June First cut.

How Bengals Can Replace Replace Joe Mixon

The Bengals have had success with Mixon, but there are going to be veteran running backs available. The Bengals also have the draft that would allow them to reload at that position. They might not produce as well in an offense led primarily by Joe Burrows passing, but they could help. The best route here for the Bengals should be the draft. Replacing Mixon with another veteran means spending money they need to save for Joe Burrow’s new contract.

Their best prospect should be Zach Charbonnet out of UCLA. Charbonnet brings three-down abilities with his size and speed, which Cincy will need. Another option is Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, one of the best dual-threat backs in this draft class. Gibbs has drawn comparisons to Alvin Kamara so that he could be an intriguing draft pick.

While relying on the draft is usually not a smart route, Cincy has enough starters returning that they do not have to rebuild much. Therefore, the Bengals draft room can keep this team as a contender or suffer the financial cost of cutties ties where needed. Getting a rookie back who can save the team money and produce immediately is ideal for the Bengals.

Final Thoughts On Joe Mixon’s Situation

All good things end, especially if they cost $12.7 million. Mixon was an elite running back, but eventually, a team has to pay their franchise player, and that is not Joe Mixon. The NFL draft could be pretty promising as this is a deeper running back class. However, if Cincy wants to reload at RB, they must start cheap and build up from scratch.

Cut Joe Mixon, save ten million and move on to the start of hopefully more success. Joe Burrow is the centerpiece; now surround him with cheaper players that can be molded into stars. Cincy will have to make some tough decisions, but ultimately, Mixon is not worth the price tag anymore.

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