A surprise headlines potential cuts by Bengals

The Bengals seem to be in a good spot heading into the offseason with a projected $35.73 million in cap space. However, things could get tricky once they pay QB Joe Burrow, who could reset the market in the coming months.

Joe Mixon, RB

This move may be surprising, but it could make sense based on off-the-field developments. 

A woman recently accused Mixon of pointing a gun at her in downtown Cincinnati. The City of Cincinnati dropped the charges, but they could be reinstated later. (In 2014, when he was at Oklahoma, Mixon admitted to punching a woman.)

Cutting Mixon would save Cincinnati $7.26 million against the cap. If he’s cut, the Bengals must find someone to fill his big shoes. In 2022, Mixon rushed for 814 yards and seven touchdowns.

Cincinnati could find a replacement in a crowded free agency running back group or by re-signing impending free agent RB Samaje Perine. Or it could draft Texas’ Bijan Robinson, the clear RB1 in the class.

Robinson is ranked No. 18 on Pro Football Focus’ Big Board. He set a PFF college record with 104 broken tackles during the 2022 season.

Jessie Bates III, Safety

Bates III received the franchise tag from Cincinnati last offseason after the sides couldn’t agree on an extension. It’s doubtful they’ll reach a contract agreement this year either.

Although Bates had a career-best four interceptions in 2022, he could have played his last down as a Bengal.

“Super grateful. That’s all I could think about running off the field,” Bates said following their AFC Championship loss to the Chiefs. 

The team drafted his potential replacement in Daxton Hill in the first round last year. In 2022, Hill had just 16 tackles in 15 games. He is looking forward to a larger role in 2023. 

Hayden Hurst, tight end

Hurst had a solid first season with the Bengals, but it may be his last with the team. Cincinnati has other, more important positions to allocate money.

The 29-year-old had 52 catches for 414 yards and two touchdowns in 2022, but Cincinnati might already be eyeing his replacement: Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer.

He is ranked No. 17 on Pro Football Focus’ Big Board. PFF calls him “as polished a tight end as you’ll see in the draft.”

Several mock drafts have already paired the 6-foot-4, 265-pounder with the Bengals.

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