ESPN suggests key Bengals player might need a change of scenery this offseason

Dec 4, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Cincinnati Bengals halfback Joe Mixon (28) runs in for the
Dec 4, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Cincinnati Bengals halfback Joe Mixon (28) runs in for the / Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

One particular player on the Cincinnati Bengals would benefit from a change of scenery over the offseason, according to ESPN. Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns last season, Joe Mixon was listed as a player who could use a fresh start.

From ESPN:

"Mixon restructured his contract in 2023 to lower his cap hit. While Mixon was productive last season in gaining more than 1,400 scrimmage yards, even a reduction to his cap charge of $8.5 million might not be enough of a reason for the team to keep him in his current role."

Mixon is clearly still a productive player, so if the Bengals decided to part ways with him, it would be a financial decision. When it comes to Mixon's future with the franchise, March 18 is the key date to know, as Mixon has a $3 million roster bonus for next season that becomes fully guaranteed on that date.

Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin was noncommittal while speaking about Mixon's future with the franchise recently, but he did say that he doesn't view the roster bonus as an issue when it comes to the team's offseason approach.

"It doesn't complicate it," Tobin said. "We put it in there for a reason. And his agent wanted it in there for a reason. From our strategy standpoint and what we intend to do, I'm not going to get into that with any of our players."

If the Bengals did end up cutting him loose, Mixon would quickly catch on elsewhere. He's still just 27 years old, so he should still have several seasons of productive play in front of him. His ability to operate as a dual-threat back should make him especially attractive to outside teams. He had over 375 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons.