After some uncertainty earlier this offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals have restructured the contract of running back Joe Mixon.
Mixon is entering his seventh NFL season. He has appeared in 80 games with the Bengals and made the Pro Bowl roster in 2021.
So what does the restructured contract mean for the Mixon and the Bengals moving forward? Here's a look at the reported new deal and what to expect leading into the 2023 season.
Before the restructuring, Mixon would have made $10.1 million this season with a cap hit of over $12.7 million. On the new deal, the 26-year-old will reportedly make a base salary of $6 million with the opportunity to earn an extra two million in incentives, per Pro Football Talk.
The $6 million base salary ranks ninth among running backs for the 2023 season behind Arizona's James Connor and Austin Ekler of the Los Angeles Chargers. They're both set to earn $6.25 million this year. Mixon had the sixth-highest base salary before the restructuring.
According to Spotrac, Mixon has picked up over $32 million in career earnings.
Looking Back At Mixon's Career
The Bengals selected Mixon in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Oklahoma. Over his two college seasons, Mixon rushed for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added another 894 yards and nine touchdowns through the air.
The California native recorded 626 yards and four touchdowns on 178 rushing attempts during his rookie campaign. He followed up with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019. Mixon played only six games in 2020 before suffering an injury to his right foot.
Following his return in 2021, Mixon set career-highs in rushing yards (1,205) and touchdowns (13). He was selected to his one and only Pro Bowl later that winter.
Mixon continued to produce for the Bengals last year. Although he only picked up 814 yards and seven rushing TDs, he recorded a career-best 441 receiving yards.
What Does This Mean For The Cincinnati Bengals?
The Bengals are viewed as a serious Super Bowl contender heading into training camp later this month, and keeping Mixon on the roster is beneficial.
Cincinnati gets to keep a veteran player who has been a star for the franchise. They also get to keep him on a relatively cheap deal that helps to create more cap space. I imagine the Bengals will keep the team option for next year, therefore giving themselves an 'out' in case things don't work with Mixon in 2023.
As noted above, NFL fans believe the Bengals are one of the league's powerhouse teams heading into the 2023 season.
The team has the fifth-highest odds to win the Super Bowl at +1000, behind only the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.
They're also +500 to win the AFC and are the odds-on favorites to win the AFC North at +125.
Restructuring his contract was a brilliant move by Joe Mixon and his agent. There are already several high-level running backs on the free agent market, including four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook, who has been looking for work since his release from the Minnesota Vikings in June.
Reworking the deal ensures Mixon gets a starting job this year while getting another opportunity to chase a championship ring with the team he has spent his entire NFL career with.
It's also a good deal for the Cincinnati Bengals. They're taking a small risk on a running back who knows the system and wants to win it all with the Bengals. The only question now is, can they do it?
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