The Cincinnati Bengals have locked up their “bell-cow” for the next four years.
Running back Joe Mixon has received a four-year extension from the team, worth $48 million. Mixon was the team’s second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft and was going to be a free agent in 2021 after the expiration of his rookie deal.
Obviously, he wasn’t going to get a contract in the range of the league’s best running backs, like Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey and Dallas’s Ezekiel Elliot who are making $15-16 million a year, but this is a good deal for both Mixon and the Bengals.
Even though he hasn’t really had a breakout season, Mixon has been a reliable starting running back that has shown that he can stay healthy and be productive.
Most NFL teams are very cautious about giving running backs big deals for logical reasons. Not only do running backs have the shortest careers because of the wear-and-tear that goes into the position, but it’s also fairly easy to find a good, if not great, running back in the later rounds of the draft.
Mixon also came into the offseason with very little bargaining chips on the table. While he ran for 1,168 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018, he only ran for 1,137 in 2019.
Granted, Mixon’s supporting cast was non-existent last year. The Bengals are hoping that the return of star receiver A.J. Green and the arrival of this year’s No. 1 draft pick, quarterback Joe Burrow, will lead to Mixon achieving his potential in 2020 and beyond.