Bengals release Joe Mixon after 7 years to sign ex-Colts RB Zack Moss on 2-year, $8 million contract

The Cincinnati Bengals have taken center stage in recent headlines, particularly concerning the franchise tag decision for their vet receiver, Tee Higgins. Amidst Joe Burrow’s potential comeback after season-ending wrist surgery, the team’s QB also weighed on the situation

However, the story quickly shifted after the initial 12 hours of legal tampering concluded, with the Bengals’ running-back situation now in the spotlight. The team made significant moves by releasing a veteran player while swiftly securing a replacement.

Bengals cut Joe Mixon

The Bengals decided to part ways with their long-time running back, Joe Mixon, just before the commencement of the legal tampering period. After seven years with the team, he will hit free agency, providing teams with a chance to acquire his services.

This unexpected release was driven by financial considerations, as the Bengals saved $6.1 million in cap space by parting ways with Mixon.  The decision aimed at addressing cap concerns and reshaping the roster despite being the second-longest tenured member of the team.

Meanwhile, the team’s choice to release Mixon elicited varied reactions on social media, with some expressing confusion over the decision to trade reliability for potential savings. NFL analytics expert Warren Sharp was among those critical of the Bengals’ timing, noting that Mixon wasn’t given the opportunity to explore his value on the open market.

“The Bengals didn’t let Joe Mixon get a taste of the fully open RB market. instead, they waited to cut him after securing his replacement while 8+ other starting RB positions on other teams were filled with signings earlier today,” he wrote.

Mixon’s performance in the previous season showcased a notable bounce-back, with an average of four yards per carry, over 1,000 rushing yards, and nine touchdowns. His contributions played a crucial role in the Bengals’ journey to Super Bowl LVI, earning him a Pro Bowl selection for the 2021 season.

As a result of his productive season, Mixon, who once declared to boycott certain media outlets, is expected to attract interest from several teams in need of a running back, with reports suggesting that the Houston Texans view him as their top target at the position.

Bengals set to sign Zack Moss

After releasing Joe Mixon, the Cincinnati team wasted no time bolstering their running back corps. Reportedly, they reached an agreement with free agent Zack Moss on Monday night to give him a two-year, $8 million deal. As part of Moss’ deal with the Bengals, the team has committed to a significant payout of $4.25 million in the first year, as per the Daily Mail.

The running back brings valuable experience and versatility to the Bengals’ backfield, having played for the Indianapolis Colts last season after being traded midway through the 2022 season. 

One key aspect that likely influenced the team’s decision to sign Moss is his impressive pass-blocking ability, as evidenced by his PFF pass-blocking grade of 60.4 in 2023. This compares favorably to Mixon’s grade of 29.7, providing the Bengals with added confidence in Moss’ ability to protect the passer.

With Moss now in the mix, the Bengals’ running back room is set to feature a blend of talent and depth, including Moss, Chase Brown, Chris Evans, and Trayveon Williams. This revamped running back group is set to provide them with a dynamic ground game for the upcoming season.

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.


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