May 30, 2024

2 Cincinnati Bengals starters reportedly viewed as possible cap casualties this offseason

The Cincinnati Bengals fell short of expectations in 2023, in large part because of a season-ending injury to quarterback Joe Burrow and regression from their defense. Before improving the roster through NFL free agency, there could be a few Bengals cap casualties in the weeks ahead.

Cincinnati is already well-positioned to spend this offseason, even with wide receiver Tee Higgins expected to receive the fully guaranteed franchise tag. However, there are a lot of needs on the Bengals roster and more financial flexibility will allow the front office to address voids on both sides of the ball.

Previewing the Bengals’ offseason, ESPN NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler noted that running back Joe Mixon and defensive tackle B.J. Hill are viewed as likely cap casualties for Cincinnati this year.

Mixon, heading into his age-28 season, has been on shaky ground with the Bengals in recent years. He was viewed as a potential cap casualty ahead of the 2023 NFL offseason, but the front office ultimately decided to keep him around. The Pro Bowl ball carrier did help himself in some regard, averaging 4 yards per carry and eclipsing 1,400 scrimmage yards for the second time since 2020.

While Hill is an obvious Bengals cap casualty, timing will be important with Mixon. As noted by Spotrac.com, Cincinnati would gain $6.1 million in cap space if it releases Mixon by March 17. However, if he’s still on the roster when the 2024 league year begins on March 18, Cincinnati would only gain $3.1 million in cap space by releasing him.

Cincinnati certainly had to like what it saw from running back Chase Brown during his rookie season. As a fifth-round pick, Brown averaged 4.1 yards per carry and turned 14 receptions into 156 receiving yards. If Mixon is released, Brown would figure to shift into a more prominent role next season.

It is possible however that Cincinnati decides to keep Mixon, believing the difference between his cap hit and the cost savings of releasing him aren’t wide enough to make a move. If that’s the case, it would likely be Mixon’s last season in a Bengals uniform as he becomes a free agent in 2025.

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