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Bengals’ decision on Joe Mixon should reflect recent Super Bowl winners

Is Mixon too expensive to keep around at this point?

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It’s not a trend anymore. It hasn’t been for a while. Teams that hoist the Lombardi Trophy don’t roster or feature an expensive running back.

The Kansas City Chiefs won their second Super Bowl title in four years. They did so because they have the best quarterback on the planet, and one of the greatest offensive minds running the show as head coach. A dynamite tight end doesn’t hurt either.

What do they have at running back? Not much in terms of financial commitment, just like the past dozen or so champions of the league.

There are some talented ball carriers on that list, including Percy Harvin, who wasn’t even a running back. That explains why he was the highest-paid player on the list. There are also names that you may not remember even existed. James Starks won a Super Bowl? In our universe??

The commonality is they didn’t take up much salary cap space, and they still got the job done when it counted the most.

What does this mean for the Cincinnati Bengals? Well, they’d be an incredible outlier to win their first Super Bowl next season while paying their feature back nearly $10 million for the entire year.

Joe Mixon’s 2023 base salary of $9.4 million boosts his cap hit to nearly $12.8 million, which is currently the third-highest on the roster. Even if he drops to fifth or sixth following some key extensions or free agent signings, he’d still own one of the biggest cap hits on the team.

There’s an argument he deserves to have that distinction, considering how talented he is relative to a pretty talented team. Mixon has had a productive six-year career in Cincinnati mainly because of his skill set rather than the blocking in front of him. He’s also one of the more popular players in the locker room and amongst the fanbase. Keeping him on the team was an easy business decision for the front office to make three years ago when they drafted his extension.

But now, more than ever, there needs to be a discussion about moving on. Not just because yet another team without a highly-paid running back captured a Super Bowl victory, but the financial restrictions the club will face once Joe Burrow and potentially Tee Higgins ink their mega deals this Summer. As far as football-related reasons go, they are what stand against Mixon.

But what do you think? Can the Bengals finish the job with Mixon taking up ample amounts of cap space and become a modern-day outlier? Let us know in the comments!