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Cincinnati Bengals expected to make big change at running back before 2023 season

The Cincinnati Bengals entered the offseason seeking out ways to improve their offense. After upgrading at left tackle, the front office could now be turning its attention toward running back.

Joe Mixon, a 2021 Pro Bowl selection, faces an uncertain future in Cincinnati. The star running back has found himself facing recent off-field issues and made headlines for the wrong reasons. Currently one of the highest-paid players on the roster, Cincinnati could gain significant cap space by releasing Mixon.

Originally, the Bengals’ plan seemed to be re-signing Samaje Perine and then cutting ties with Mixon. But Perine signed with the Denver Broncos, leaving Cincinnati without a viable option at running back if it ultimately cut Mixon.

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While there is now a possibility that Mixon remains on the roster next season, many around the league are now confident that Cincinnati will be adding significant competition at running back before training camp.

According to NFL insider Jeremy Fowler, many NFL teams believe Cincinnati is looming large in the mix for Ezekiel Elliott. Even if he isn’t signed, the Bengals’ backfield will look different when the 2023 season arrives.

“Because I’m told they’re looking to add a running back, either through free agency or the draft. Either to pair with Joe Mixon, or if they were to move on from Mixon, they could save nearly $8 million in cap space.”

Jeremy Fowler on Cincinnati Bengals’ running back situation

Elliott does have mutual interest in the Bengals following his release by the Dallas Cowboys. Cincinnati would offer the former All-Pro running back an opportunity to have a prominent role in an offense, while playing for a Super Bowl contender.

However, Cincinnati might prefer to find its complementary running back in the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s a deep pool of running back prospects, with several options in the middle rounds offering starting-caliber potential.

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Whatever path the Bengals take, it’s evident that Cincinnati will likely be reducing Mixon’s role next season. After combining for 604 touches over the last two seasons, Mixon likely won’t eclipse 250 touches this fall.

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