The Athletic makes the case for Bengals cutting Joe Mixon

The idea of the Cincinnati Bengals cutting running back Joe Mixon is complicated.

Mixon, beloved in the locker room and a key piece of the long-term rebuild, plays a position that has lost much of its value leaguewide and he’s struggled to stay on the field in a three-down capacity.

What isn’t complicated, though, are the finances involved. That’s a big part of the argument Jay Morrison of The Athletic makes when tabbing Mixon as Cincinnati’s potential cap casualty:

“Even with Perine hitting free agency, the Bengals can bring him back at a more affordable price and look for a younger back during — or after — the draft. The Bengals envisioned this scenario coming into play when they signed Mixon to a four-year, $48 million contract in 2020, and structured the deal so that they could get out of it two years early without much of a hit. And with the Joe Burrow extension dictating so much of what the front office will do this offseason, reallocating $7.3 million to more pressing needs feels closer to a certainty than a mere possibility.”

If the Bengals designate Mixon as a post-June 1 cut, it saves them roughly $10 million.

That’s not an insignificant chunk of change for the team to free up while likely seeking offensive line depth upgrades and with Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson becoming available for extensions.

And it’s true Samaje Perine offered similar value while serving as a much better pass protector. One popular idea is the team bringing Perine back and adding a rookie to the mix at a cheap cost.

One possible solution, of course, is Mixon following Aaron Jones’ lead with the Packers and restructuring his deal to save the team cap space. He’s been adamant he wants to stay with the team, so a modification that keeps him in town wouldn’t be a stunner.

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire