These 2 Bengals could very well be salary cap casualties in 2023
With the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cincinnati Bengals now enter the offseason and will have some difficult decisions to make. They're set to have 19 players hitting free agency with 15 of those being unrestricted free agents and also have to extend Joe Burrow and potentially Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson as well. It won't be an easy offseason by any means.
With that said, the Bengals are going to have to look at players who might be expendable on their roster and decide if it's worth cutting ties with those guys to save money. There are two such players that they could do this with.
Per Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon could find themselves on the roster bubble this offseason.
Bengals might need to part ways with Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon
Here's what Ginnitti said about Mixon.
"Joe Mixon didn’t quite match the outstanding 2021 campaign he posted (1,500+ yards, 16 TDs), but he was still a viable weapon, catching 60 passes while finding the end zone 9 times. With that said, his contract contains 2 years, $20.4M remaining, none of which is guaranteed or paid out as an early bonus. If the Bengals think they can flip this position on the fly, there’s $7.2M of cap to be freed up with an early release, $10M+ if Post 6/1. If the plan is to keep him, a base salary conversation + 3 void years can open up $6.5M of space."- Michael Ginnitti
... and here's what he said about Boyd.
"28 year old Tyler Boyd caught a 5 year low 58 balls for 762 yards this past season. He’s entering a contract year in 2023, set to earn $8.9M on a $10.2M cap hit. The Bengals can free up $8.8M of space by moving on via trade or release, a stark possibility this offseason."- Michael Ginnitti
I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals made the decision to move on from both of these guys. The reason is that Cincinnati needs to create cap space so that they can extend their key players and sadly, Boyd and Mixon don't fall into the key players category anymore.
I could also absolutely see the team keeping both guys or moving on from one but they will have some help with the increased salary cap this offseason.
This offseason could see the Bengals extending Burrow, Higgins, and Wilson but Burrow is obviously going to be the priority. They also could lose big names such as Germaine Pratt, Vonn Bell, Jessie Bates, and Hayden Hurst to free agency with Bates being the most likely name to depart.
The point is that Cincinnati has to make some unpleasant decisions over the next few months and even just wrong decision could set this team back. We're hoping for a Burrow extension but what happens to some of the other players on the team?
Boyd went from being the best receiver on the team to now playing third fiddle and could be a bigger part of an offense elsewhere. Mixon has had some really good seasons for the Bengals and was one of their best players during the bad seasons but he wasn't as effective as a runner this year and that needs to be taken into consideration.
What do you want the Bengals to do here? Should they keep both of these guys, cut both of them, or keep one and not the other?