Nothing quite like some huge breaking news in the middle of a Friday evening, eh?
After months of speculation, the Cincinnati Bengals and running back Joe Mixon have reportedly agreed to a contract restructure. Prior to these new, undisclosed numbers (for now), Mixon was tied for fifth in the NFL in average annual value with Green Bay’s Aaron Jones at $12,000,000, per Spotrac.
The #Bengals and RB Joe Mixon are finalizing a restructured contract that will keep him in Cincinnati for the 2023 season, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 14, 2023
Mixon was due $10.1 million this season with a $12.791M cap number. The new deal frees up cash and cap for Cincinnati, and Mixon stays as RB1. pic.twitter.com/gtOTGYn3hQ
Mixon’s agent, Peter Schaffer, also relayed an accompanying statement, via Adam Schefter’s Twitter account. “Joe’s goal is to win a Super Bowl and play his career in Cincinnati and this is the best way to accomplish these goals,” said Mixon’s representation.
Bengals’ RB Joe Mixon, who had $9.4 million non-guaranteed base salary, agreed tonight to restructure his contract to remain in Cincinnati. “Joe’s goal is to win a Super Bowl and play his career in Cincinnati and this is the best way to accomplish these goals,” said his agent… pic.twitter.com/AbMNhDteDL— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 14, 2023
Mixon’s contract has been the target of restructure talks for months. Per Over The Cap, Mixon’s salary cap number in 2023 was set to be $12,791,176 with a $5.5 million dead cap number.
Cincinnati is eyeing big contract extensions for quarterback Joe Burrow, wide receivers Tee Higgins and (eventually) Ja’Marr Chase, as well as budding star linebacker, Logan Wilson. With questions circulating on how the Bengals will be able to get all of these done to keep their core stars together, Mixon’s contract—an extension in which he signed back in 2020—became a focal point of number-crunching.
Additionally, while star running backs are still getting paid to some degree, a league-wide devaluation of the position has many veteran ball-carriers in a similar position. Mixon’s fellow 2017 draft class running back, Dalvin Cook, was recently released by the Minnesota Vikings after a stellar career with four Pro Bowl designations. He also signed a mega-extension in 2020.
After landing with the Bengals in the second round of the 2017 draft, Mixon has not only become one of the locker room’s leaders, but also one of the top statistical backs in team history. He’s the No. 5 back in Cincinnati history, in terms of rushing yards (5,378), while placing fourth in rushing touchdowns (40).
He was particularly crucial in the team’s drubbing of the Buffalo Bills in the 2022 Divisional Round, racking up 123 all-purpose yards (105 rushing, 18 receiving) and a touchdown in the victory.
Even with the contract talk over the months and a couple of unflattering headlines surrounding Mixon this offseason, Cincinnati showed a lot of faith in him remaining as their primary back in 2023. The Bengals allowed Samaje Perine to walk in free agency, while re-signing (seemingly promoting) Trayveon Williams and waiting to draft a back until the fifth round in Illinois’ Chase Brown.
Still, the writing was on the wall for Mixon here, largely because of the aforementioned extensions they want to achieve. Cincinnati has often waited until the later parts of summer and into training camp to agree to contract extensions/renegotiations, so as to ensure their most valued players don’t see free agency the following offseason.
We’ll update you more as the new figures for Mixon’s contract restructure surface.