The Cincinnati Bengals season came to end in the AFC Championship Game and now the focus shifts to the 2023 season where the team has some major questions to answer. Joe Mixon's name has already been in the news for a multitude of reasons since the Bengals' loss; Some for football reasons and some not.
Mixon finished this season rushing 210 times for 814 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Mixon did miss a few games but overall had one of his worst statistical years since his rookie season and years where he went down with an injury and missed a handful of games.
The former third-round pick did miss some time this season, which could have changed the landscape of his numbers by a little bit, but as a whole Mixon didn't have the year he or the Bengals envisioned after the season he had in 2021.
Should the Bengals cut or keep Joe Mixon?
Mixon is headed into year seven and will be in the final years of his second contract with the Bengals. The former Oklahoma product is still a very high-volume, highly productive back. However, when talking about which positions are the most replaceable, running back comes to mind.
Typically, running backs have the shortest careers and we have seen that in the NFL. Over the last 5-10 years, it's not uncommon at all for running backs to go from the top of the league to out of the league within seasons.
If the Bengals choose to release Mixon they would save roughly $10 million, which could be a huge boost to the cap space they already have. They have all of their draft capital and this a very running back-heavy draft. They could find serious talent as late as the fifth or sixth round with how deep this draft could be at the position.
Mixon didn't help his cause to stay in Cincinnati after he was charged with "aggravated menacing" earlier last week. The details of the situation did not bote well for him.
Although, the following day the charges were dropped which is definitely a positive as now the focus can go back to football. Mixon had an incident back in college at Oklahoma where his emotions got the best of him, but since he was drafted he has been nothing but a prime example of how an athlete should be having no problems off the field.
Samaje Perine is a free agent this off-season but would be a much cheaper option to re-sign. The Bengals can pair him with a young rookie running back from the draft. Oh and Chris Evans is still on the depth chart.
If the Bengals choose to keep Mixon they would have to pay the rest of his salary and he would more than likely still be the highest volumed back week in and week out for the Bengals. Releasing him would help the possibility of re-signing other key guys like Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Logan Wilson, and Ja'Marr Chase next season when he becomes eligible for his extension.