clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Are the Bengals expecting a Joe Mixon holdout?

Signs point to yes.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The recent reports are true: the Bengals want to sign running back Joe Mixon to a contract extension. But if Mixon is expecting that to look like the deal Panthers’ All-Pro Christian McCaffery just signed, he’s got another thing coming to him.

Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic recently wrote that the Bengals aren’t necessarily focused on drafting a running back in next week’s NFL Draft but are “prepared for a holdout” from Mixon if they can’t agree to a deal before training camp begins (if it begins, that is).

This would help verify the report that the Bengals are closer to finalizing a deal for A.J. Green then they are with Mixon.

Holdouts aren’t too common in Cincinnati. There’s rarely been instances where the front office hasn’t been able to get a long-term deal done with no controversy attached. Situations like Marvin Jones and Andrew Whitworth leaving have happened, but both of those occurred when they entered free agency. Mixon still has a year left on his four-year rookie contract.

Any impasse that may occur will be because of value. The Bengals want to employ Mixon for the next handful of years, but at what cost? To give Mixon a deal resembling that of McCaffery’s $64 million extension over the next four years would be ludicrous. Not only will McCaffery not live up to that deal, but Mixon isn’t even a comparable player to who McCaffery is, even if McCaffery’s value is embellished. He has no leverage to garner that kind of contract.

The newly passed Collective Bargaining Agreement, which Mixon was adamantly against, also hurts Mixon’s leverage. If he doesn’t report to the first day of training camp, he will sacrifice an accrued year in the league, meaning he won’t be eligible for free agency in 2021. Our friend Andre Perrotta helped explained that for us.

The Bengals surely have a price in mind for Mixon, and considering the minuscule value running backs have in today’s NFL, it’s surely more than what Mixon’s true worth is. But being a fan favorite, the team will want to keep Mixon around for that purpose. Paying Mixon is also more feasible considering the team doesn’t have to spend much on a quarterback for the next five years.

The signs point to Mixon and the Bengals not seeing eye-to-eye in the early stages of these negotiations. Unfortunately for Mixon, he’s just a year too late to do anything useful about it.