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Dave Lapham makes the case for Bengals extending Joe Mixon

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The voices of the Bengals think that Mixon will play with the Bengals in 2021.

New England Patriots vCincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

With Derrick Henry signing a huge contract this offseason, where does this leave Joe Mixon?

The Bengals’ running back is on the last year of his rookie deal, which means the Bengals need to decide what to do with him soon.

A.J. Green, John Ross, and William Jackson are all due in the offseason as well, so the Bengals have a lot of tough decisions to make.

Some would argue that Mixon accounts for 18 touches per game and nearly 87 yards of scrimmage per game. No one has been more important for the Bengals’ offense since 2018.

On the other hand, running back tend not to age well in the national football league. The Rams and the Falcons, for instance, needed to get out of their contracts with Todd Gurley and Devonta Freeman.

Dave Lapham and Dan Hoard discussed Mixon’s tentative contract situation on the Bengals Booth Podcast.

“There might be some residual good feeling which might bring his price down,” said Robert Weintraub of Cincinnati Magazine about 21 minutes in. “There are ways to sign him in, certainly in the medium term, that would not be a team-crushing blow in terms of salary cap. But I would be surprised if that would happen and you just gotta unfortunately if it comes to that.”

Though Weintraub is pessimistic, both Lapham and Hoard said that they would re-sign Mixon.

“Yes, I would. I’d give Joe Mixon a similar deal,” Lapham told Dan Hoard on the Bengals Booth Podcast. ”Joe, obviously, was a huge, huge factor in the second half of the season last year. Without A.J. (Green) around and not having the passing attack they had and knowing that Joe Mixon was going to run the football — he still was one of the top rushers in the National Football League the last eight games of the season. Obviously he’s a lightning rod for the rest of the team. Guys gravitate toward him. They feed off his energy. He provides a lot of energy. He’s a hell of a player. I would. I’d ink him if I could.”

Lapham and Hoard admitted that big contracts for running backs don’t always work out. Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson are two who make upwards of $10 million a season, and most would say those deals haven’t paid off.

Henry, Christian McCaffrey, and Ezekiel Elliott are the only other backs in the $10 million club. If Mixon earned that much per year, he would be in elite company.

Mixon is in the upper tier of backs in the National Football League,” Lapham said. “Joe won’t hesitate to bloody his nose in pass protection either. He’s a complete back for sure.”

The Bengals have traditionally opted to keep their most valuable veterans when their contracts expired. Giovani Bernard is a current example.

But the Bengals are changing their ways, so it’s hard to predict what they will do.