NFL insider casts doubt over Joe Mixon's future with Bengals

Will Mixon be back with the Bengals? One insider doesn't seem to think so.
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Joe Mixon's days with the Cincinnati Bengals might be numbered, at least according to NFL insider Matthew Berry, who was informed by league sources at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis that Mixon would be released by the Bengals this offseason.

"Tyler Boyd is not expected to return and I was told Joe Mixon would be released," Berry wrote.

Boyd not being expected to return isn't surprising, but the information regarding Mixon is interesting, if nothing else.

Mixon, 27, is coming off of a productive season for the Bengals in which he ran for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had three receiving touchdowns and 376 yards. He clearly still has some gas left in the tank, but the decision to move on from him (if that is what the Bengals ultimately decide to do) would be a financial one.

When it comes to Mixon's future in Cincinnati, March 18 is the key date to circle on the calendar. It's on that date that Mixon's $3 million roster bonus for next season becomes fully guaranteed. So, if the Bengals are going to cut ties with the back, it will likely happen before then.

Bengals brass was noncommittal about Mixon's future in Cincinnati

Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin discussed Mixon's future at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month, and while he was plenty positive about what Mixon brings to the table, he was largely noncommittal about the back's role in Cincinnati's offense next season.

"I can tell you his role this past year was good," Tobin said. "He had a really good season for us. I was proud of him, over 1,000 yards, double-digit touchdowns, and was a big factor for us. In terms of predicting anybody's role going forward, I'm not going to do that up here on the podium.

"Those are roster-building strategies and those are things that we're talking through as this whole thing unfolds with every player on our roster," he added. "It's not specific to just one. Really proud of Joe and the season he had. He did a lot of things to help us get to a point where we had a chance and we didn't get over the hump but he put us in a position to have a chance."

With that March 18 deadline drawing consistently closer, we won't have to wait too much longer to find out exactly what the Bengals plan to do with Mixon. If Berry's sources are correct, Mixon could be looking for a new NFL home in the near future.