This has been an odd offseason for the NFL’s top running backs.
Seemingly more than ever before, many of their futures have been undecided in recent months.
Austin Ekeler is looking to get traded so he can secure a better contract.
Dalvin Cook was a trade candidate and is now rumored to be a player the Vikings could release.
Saquon Barkley hasn’t signed the franchise tag yet with the Giants as he seeks a long-term deal.
Joe Mixon has reportedly been candidate to be released by the Cincinnati Bengals, but has managed to continue hanging around every time one of those rumors has popped up.
It looks like that could change soon.
According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr, the Bengals are going to release Joe Mixon unless he is willing to take a pay cut.
The Bengals are starting over at running back. Well, sort of.
It's generally a clean slate, writes @pauldehnerjr.
Cincinnati needs the position to evolve. Where can they find a solution? It starts in the draft:https://t.co/PdJZfz2SjY
— The Athletic NFL (@TheAthleticNFL) April 16, 2023
Mixon carries a heavy cap hit for the 2023 season, but the Bengals can save over $7 million of the $12.76 million hit if they release him.
This would likely be Mixon’s last season with the Bengals anyway as the 2024 season on his contract is a team option that would come with a hit just over $13 million.
Mixon is coming off of a disappointing season where he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, making it difficult to justify keeping Mixon at that price.
There are also plenty of much cheaper options they could pursue in this year’s draft instead.
There are a few strong prospects early in the draft that could entice the Bengals and even some later backs that could be intriguing.
They even met with Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay today and could bring him in late in the draft to replace Mixon.
It’s a tough market out there for NFL running backs right now and it looks like that market could hurt Joe Mixon this offseason.