Reports: Bengals trade Mixon to Texans instead of releasing him

Team adds former Colt Zack Moss to running back room

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Cincinnati Bengals are trading running back Joe Mixon instead of releasing him.

According to multiple reports late Monday, Mixon was informed he was being released. On Tuesday, reports indicated the team was trading Mixon to the Houston Texans.

Former Colts running back Zack Moss is signing a two-year, $8 million deal with the Bengals. The deal includes a $4.525 million payout in Year 1, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Moss rushed for 794 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games last year for the Colts. Originally a third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2020, Moss was traded to Indianapolis in November 2022.

The Bengals would have owed Mixon an additional $3 million in bonuses if he was still on the roster March 18, and his $8.85 million cap hit was a hefty charge at a position where teams typically are able to go younger and cheaper. The move to Moss is an example of that.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Mixon had 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns last season, but was 27th in rushing yards over expectations, while Moss was fifth.

“I can tell you his role this past year was good,” Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said. “He had a really good season for us. I was proud of him over a thousand yards and double-digit touchdowns, and it was a big factor for us. In terms of predicting anybody’s role going forward. I’m not going to do that up here on the podium. Those are roster-building strategies and those are things that we’re talking through as this whole thing unfolds with every player on our roster. It’s not specific to just one. Really proud of Joe in the season he had, and he did a lot of things to help us get into a point where we had a chance. We didn’t get over the hump, but he put us in a position to have a chance.”

Mixon topped 1,000 yards rushing for the fourth time in his career last season, and he was a Pro Bowl running back in 2021.

However, the Bengals had the fifth most cap space invested in the running back room last year and were looking at more explosive options to help take the offense to the next level. Cincinnati’s offense has been headed in a new direction since the organization drafted Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase as the foundation.

Mixon isn’t great in pass protection. He’s not a three-down back, and he’s not the type to often find a burst on the outside, which the Bengals eventually leaned on Chase Brown for as the season progressed last year. More importantly, at age 27, Mixon wasn’t getting any faster.

Moss was 15th in breakaway percentage. He’s been durable as a complementary back with two different organizations but shined last year in Jonathan Taylor’s absence.

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