The Bengals could have lost one of their key offensive pieces this offseason if everything did not go to plan. Joe Mixon was scheduled to get $9.4 million this season, but if he did not agree to restructure that contract and take a pay cut, there was a very good chance that Mixon would be cut.
Mike Florio reported that Mixon took a pay cut to where he can only earn as much as $8 million and the base pay was knocked all the way down to under $6 million. Mixon is the latest running back to feel the rigors of the running back market, which seems to be getting smaller and smaller this offseason as teams look to avoid big contracts as the position.
Mixon, 26, has played with the Bengals since 2017. The Antioch, California native has spent his entire pro career with Cincinnati, earning his first Pro Bowl selection in the 2021 season. Mixon rushed 210 times for 814 yards and caught 60 passes for 441 yards in 2022, while playing in 14 games for the Bengals, whose season ended in an AFC Championship Game loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Mixon missed several games at the early part of the season with a concussion.
Mixon is still a key piece of the Bengals offense, and is someone that Mike Tomlin always circles when the team faces them. In his previously signed contract, Mixon has a team option in 2024 that would be worth north of $10.4 million. It is unclear if that part of his deal has changed at all.
Cincinnati drafted running back Chase Brown in the 5th round of the 2023 NFL Draft, which was a signal that they could look to move on from Mixon at the price tag he was currently commanding. But after losing Samaje Perine in free agency, that plan felt a bit more tenuous, and a compromise was met between the two sides instead.