Bengals’ Joe Mixon replacement shouldn’t be Zack Moss

The Cincinnati Bengals have big shoes to fill in the backfield from the void left by Joe Mixon's departure, and offseason signing Zack Moss shouldn't be the answer.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Shortly after the Cincinnati Bengals signed Zack Moss to a two-year, $8 million contract in free agency this offseason, they traded longtime starting running back Joe Mixon to the Houston Texans, paving the way for the former to step into a potential workhorse role left by the latter.

But the Bengals may have already had the solution to filling the void in the backfield left by Mixon on their roster before bringing in Moss in the form of 2023 fifth-round pick Chase Brown.

Chase Brown should be Bengals’ Joe Mixon replacement, not Zack Moss

Brown came on late last season as a rookie, operating in tandem with Mixon as the change-of-pace and third-down back for the Bengals. After logging multiple offensive snaps only once through the first 12 weeks of the 2023 campaign, he earned double-digit reps from Week 13 through 18, showcasing his receiving chops and game-changing speed with the ball.

No running back reached a higher velocity than Brown did on this 54-yard touchdown reception in Cincinnati’s Week 14 victory against the Indianapolis Colts, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats:

Despite the limited opportunity in his first year as a pro, Brown proved he is an explosive playmaker, worthy of earning more touches with Mixon now out of the picture.

While Moss enjoyed a career year filling in as the primary running back for the Colts amid a turbulent season for star running back Jonathan Taylor (contract holdout/ankle/thumb), he has not shown much else in terms of handling a three-down workload. 

Considering we have a good idea of what Moss is at this stage in his career, the Bengals should chase (no pun intended) the upside in Brown and see what they have in the nimble second-year tailback.

Regardless, Cincy has their work cut out for them to replace the production of Mixon.