American Football

Bengals still undecided on Joe Mixon, and Jessie Bates won’t get the franchise tag


Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

They could save $7 million if they opted to release their top back.

The Cincinnati Bengals have a few league-altering decisions to make over the next few years. Extending Joe Burrow and potentially Tee Higgins are going to be a few of the most talked-about topics in the Queen City.

The former is a given, as will be doing whatever it takes to extend Ja’Marr Chase in the coming years. But, there are other options that could be more difficult to retain, namely Joe Mixon and Hayden Hurst.

Hurst is a free agent and has a solid market after a good season in Cincinnati. Mixon could be cut this offseason, and that would save the Bengals $7 million in cap space which could be huge for both this offseason and next.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler gave fans an update on the Bengals’ plans moving forward, but it didn’t give too much insight into the direction the team is headed.

“The Cincinnati Bengals are focused on keeping their own talent, starting with extending quarterback Joe Burrow and at least exploring that option with wide receiver Tee Higgins (2024 free agent).

“The team has not decided on the future of running back Joe Mixon ($12.7 million cap hit). And the Bengals are not expected to franchise-tag safety Jessie Bates III a second time, but they are following his market and will be on the lookout for safety help. They could possibly re-sign Vonn Bell, who played very well for Cincy,” Fowler wrote.

Mixon has been a stud for the Bengals over the past few seasons. Since being drafted in 2017, Mixon has had three 1,000-yard seasons. The 26-year-old had 1,205 rushing yards and 16 total touchdowns in 2021, having been just eight carries shy of 300.

The Bengals could go with a back in the first round with the 28th pick if they cut Mixon, or they could just opt to get Chris Evans more involved in the coming season.

Nonetheless, the Bengals have “not decided” what they’ll do yet, and there’s really no telling which direction they’re headed as the draft continues to near.

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