Long-Time Bengals Starter & Captain Called ‘Potential Cap Casualty’

Bengals RB Joe Mixon called "potential cap casualty."

Getty The Cincinnati Bengals must decide whether or not to cut running back Joe Mixon (left) once again.

For the second straight offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals must decide whether or not they should keep star running back and team leader Joe Mixon at his current salary.

NFL insider Ari Meirov released his annual article naming “potential cap casualties” with The 33rd Team, and Mixon was on it once again.

“Joe Mixon was on this list last year, as well,” Meirov acknowledged, “but he decided to take a pay cut to stay with the Cincinnati Bengals. He finished the season with more than 1,000 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns.”

“However, just like we said last year, teams have found other avenues to acquire running backs for cheaper,” the media member went on. “The Bengals could approach Mixon again about taking a pay cut, or else he’d join a loaded free agent running back group where getting a good deal could be difficult.”

According to Over the Cap, Cincy can save $6.1 million by cutting Mixon — and it doesn’t matter if they make the move ahead of free agency. That decision would come with a $2.75 million dead charge.

Per Meirov, “Mixon is due a $3 million roster bonus on March 18,” making that a “key date to watch.”

Bengals Have Cap Space to Keep Joe Mixon Coming off Renaissance Season in 2023

Considering their healthy amount of cap space in 2024, it’s hard to see the Bengals moving on from Mixon coming off such a productive season inside this Zac Taylor offense.

Mixon rushed the ball for over 1,000 yards for the fourth time in his career, adding another 376 yards as a receiver — his second highest total in that regard. And because he caught so many passes behind the line of scrimmage, the veteran actually accounted for 463 yards after the catch despite starting with -87 upon receiving the ball.

That shows Mixon still displays great vision and elusiveness in space.

There’s also something to be said about chemistry and a player knowing a system inside and out. Mixon has started 88 games for the Bengals since 2017, and 68 of those starts have come under Coach Taylor.

With the 2021-22 Super Bowl roster still mostly intact on the offensive side, ditching Mixon in 2024 feels shortsighted. Even if younger and more talented RBs are currently available, they may not fit this system as Mixon has.

It makes more sense to attempt one last ride around an offensive core led by Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Mixon.

Bengals RB Joe Mixon on Possible Farewell: ‘We Built This From the Ground Up’

When addressing the media after Week 18, Mixon spoke on his potential farewell from the Bengals organization (shared on X via Mike Petraglia).

“I just really was just taking it in with my teammates and doing whatever I can to really enjoy that moment with them,” Mixon told reporters. “Live in the moment and do whatever I can to go celebrate with them.”

After a follow-up involving long-time Cincy teammate Tyler Boyd, the ball-carrier talked about his Bengals journey alongside the wide receiver.

“I’ve been around a lot of teammates in this here locker room,” Mixon replied. “[Boyd and I have] been around for some time and I feel like we definitely built it from the ground up. And I feel like in 2019, in Zac’s first year where there was like nobody in the stands, it was probably me, [Boyd], Sam [Hubbard] and [Josh] Tupou. [Some] of the only players that’s in this here locker room going through that.”

He added that after Burrow came in, the front office did a great job filling out the roster around the franchise QB.

“Like I said, I feel like we built it the right way and to be a part of something so special with these guys. Man, it means everything to us,” Mixon concluded, calling his time with the Bengals a “blessing” that he will “never take for granted.”

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