Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is a potential cap casualty, according to a report from The Athletic. It makes sense. The Bengals are entering the offseason with roughly $36.2 million in cap space, but are already thinking about extensions for Joe Burrow and possibly Tee Higgins as well. The Bengals have several notable free agents, including safeties Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell, and linebacker Germaine Pratt as well.
The Bengals could save $7.2 million against the 2023 cap by releasing Joe Mixon immediately. It’s a tempting proposition for a franchise with soon-to-be sizable financial commitments on offense. We’ve identified three potential landing spots for Joe Mixon’s services.
The Lions possess $23.1 million in cap space. D’Andre Swift is entering a contract year in 2023 and recurring injuries have limited Swift’s potential. The former Georgia standout has played 13 games in three consecutive seasons. Swift rushed for a modest 542 yards and five touchdowns in 2022.
Jamaal Williams is set for free agency after running for a league-high 17 touchdowns. Lions general manager Brad Holmes should make a valiant effort to re-sign Williams, but negotiations could get tricky depending on Williams’ perceived value of himself. The Lions are an underrated candidate to add a starting-caliber running back via free agency or the 2023 NFL Draft. Mixon is a dual-threat back with more natural ability than any of Detroit’s current ball carriers.
Would the Bills consider poaching Mixon? General manager Brandon Beane is currently $18.7 million over the cap, but contract restructures for their superstars like Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs could quickly solve that issue. Nyheim Hines ($4.77 million) and Tim Settle ($2.23 million) are cut candidates. Mixon’s 2023 cap charge can be lowered by a multi-year contract. As a Super Bowl contender, the Bills should continue borrowing from the future to finance their present. Buffalo could make the figures work if they wanted to.
The Bills were eliminated by the Bengals in the division round largely due to their inability to take a balanced approach offensively, managing just 63 total net rushing yards. Meanwhile, Mixon rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown and 20 carries (5.3 yards per carry). The Bills have attempted to draft several running backs in the mid-rounds, but they didn’t hit on Devin Singletary or Zack Moss, and the jury remains out on James Cook. Signing Mixon would indicate Beane is taking the running back position seriously.
This would hit Bengals fans right in the feels. The Ravens are candidates to add a difference-maker at the running back position this offseason. J.K. Dobbins suffered a season-ending torn ACL in August of 2021 and continued to deal with the fallout throughout his 2022 campaign. Dobbins was limited to seven regular-season appearances and 427 yards.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta is armed with $25.9 million in cap space. Baltimore’s offseason will be dominated by Lamar Jackson, who is currently set to reach free agency. Jackson is a potential sign-and-trade candidate, which would net the Ravens multiple first-round picks. The Ravens will continue to place emphasis on running the football with or without Jackson under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. If the Bengals cut Mixon, he could stick it to the franchise by signing with their arch-rival Ravens.
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