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Bengals Bytes (2/9): Can Joe Mixon be the focal point of the Bengals offense?

Now that Jeremy Hill is officially gone, the Bengals are in a situation where they need to find an identity. Could Joe Mixon become the guy to carry the offensive load?

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Can Joe Mixon lead way for Cincinnati Bengals in 2018?
There's been a passing of the torch in Cincinnati. Jeremy Hill's goodbye tweet in January was a clear sign the running back is on the way out as he heads into free agency for the first time. Joe Mixon, who will head into his second season, will probably carry the load. Considering that Hill only carried the ball 37 times for 116 yards in 2017, will that much really change in 2018? It certainly could.

TDBH: Bengals’ visit aids Samoan homeland
After yesterday’s airport greeting bannered with “Welcome Home,” signs, the contingent of three Bengals with Samoan roots continues its visit today when they begin fanning out to the six high schools in Samoa’s capital of Pago Pago during a trip that is A1 news on the island. Nose tackle Domata Peko, defensive lineman Jon Fanene, and rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga first conduct business with American Samoa governor Togiola Tulafono yesterday morning in a Pago Pago ceremony. They present him with a check for the $40,000 they raised at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square rally during the season for victims of last September’s tsunami. The check reads, in part, “from the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tri-State area.”

NFL's Men of the Year thaw time
The last time Anthony Munoz, Reggie Williams, and Ken Anderson were this cold together, they were on the Riverfront Stadium rink winning the second coldest game ever played and taking the Bengals to their first Super Bowl before any player on today’s roster was born. On Sunday, 36 years later, they needed to climb about 40 U.S. Bank Stadium steps through a shot-and-a-beer prairie wind hovering at zero degrees to reach the Super Bowl reunion of past winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. By the time the MVP of that game and that league in that year reached the top, Anderson thought back to that day he quarterbacked a passer rating of 115.9 in minus-59 wind chill.

AFC North Bytes

Six potential cap casualties for the Ravens
The offseason has officially begun and the Baltimore Ravens will have several important roster decisions to make. According to Overthecap, the Ravens currently have $10,468,061 in cap-space. Clearly, that will not be enough if Baltimore plans on adding players in the offseason in order to improve their roster. Below are six potential cap casualties for the Ravens heading into the 2018 season.

Replacing Ryan Shazier is Steelers' No. 1 priority
Last offseason, the Steelers attempted to sign the top inside linebacker in free agency. Dont’a Hightower signed a long-term contract to remain with New England, and the Steelers didn’t sign another inside linebacker or draft one. That was when the Steelers had a healthy Ryan Shazier as the centerpiece to their defense. His season- and likely career-ending spinal cord injury makes inside linebacker the No. 1 priority for the Steelers this offseason.

Random Bytes

Eagles Ran Fake Super Bowl Walk-Through in Case Patriots Were Watching
Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato said the team did a fake walkthrough in Minneapolis one day ahead of Super Bowl LII in the event the New England Patriots were spying on their practice. "I believe our whole walkthrough was just a complete fake walkthrough," Lovato said on 620 WDAE in Tampa (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). "We did it at the stadium. There were certain people walking around...I believe I overheard someone say a lot of the plays we were running weren’t even in the playbook for the Super Bowl."

10 Things We Learned from the NFL Season and What It Means for 2018
In the NFL, football never truly ends. The Super Bowl is over, but the plotting, scouting and poker moves are just beginning. As the Eagles celebrate, the Patriots lick their wounds, and teams begin dreaming about their own Super Bowls, we look at 10 storylines that will shape the offseason and the season to come.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers Agree on Record 5-Year, $137.5 Million Contract
The San Francisco 49ers have locked down their franchise quarterback as Jimmy Garoppolo has officially signed a new five-year contract worth a reported $137.5 million, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network first reported the new deal. Garafolo said it's the "biggest deal in NFL history on a average-per-year basis."