Joe Mixon

AFC North Notes: Berry, Ravens, Mixon

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC North:

  • The Browns hired former Eagles’ VP of Football Operations Andrew Berry to be their GM and EVP of Football Operations today, and he will report directly to owner Jimmy Haslam, just like new head coach Kevin Stefanski and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta. However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks it’s fair to wonder whether Berry will really have final say over roster decisions, as his contract says he will. Of course, in order to pry Berry away from Philadelphia, Cleveland needed to give him such power contractually, but whether Berry will be permitted to fully use that power is another story. Stefanski and DePodesta may not be keen on consistently yielding to Berry, who was probably the team’s No. 2 choice behind Vikings exec George Paton.
  • In 2019, the Ravens made a number of in-season signings to bolster their defense that ended up paying major dividends. Baltimore has already inked one such acquisition, L.J. Fort, to a two-year extension, and Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic believes the club could also look to re-sign OLB/DE Jihad Ward and DT Justin Ellis.
  • Many have noted the Ravens‘ need to add pass rushing talent, and much of that discussion has focused on edge rushers. But in the same piece, Zrebiec says Baltimore will think long and hard about selecting a quality pass-rushing interior defensive lineman if one is available near the end of the first round. The Ravens haven’t really had such a player since the heyday of Haloti Ngata.
  • Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic lays out a number of moves he believes the Bengals should make this offseason. The entire piece is worth a read for Cincy fans, but one move that Dehner thinks is especially likely to come to fruition is an extension for running back Joe Mixon. We recently heard that director of player personnel Duke Tobin would explore a new contract for his RB1, and such a deal won’t be cheap.

Bengals Personnel Director On Green, Dalton, Mixon

Bengals receiver A.J. Green missed the entire 2019 campaign due to an ankle injury, and the last time he suited up for a game was in Week 13 of the 2018 regular season. Given his age (he will be 32 by the time the 2020 regular gets underway) and recent injury history, there has been plenty of speculation that the rebuilding Cincinnati outfit might move on from its franchise icon this offseason.

But that’s not necessarily the case. On Wednesday, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin told reporters, including Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer, that he plans on having Green back in 2020 (Twitter link). Tobin said “all options are on the table,” which presumably means that the franchise tag and a multiyear pact are in play. Green has previously indicated that he is opposed to the franchise tag, though he did concede that he would not engage in a season-long holdout if he is hit with the tag.

The tag value for wideouts checks in at a whopping $18.5MM, a lot of coin for an aging player who has missed 23 of his team’s last 24 games. A long-term deal would also be quite costly, because with a fairly light free agent receiver class — which gets a lot lighter if Amari Cooper and Emmanuel Sanders re-up with their current teams — Green would likely still command top-dollar on the open market.

On the other hand, a receiver of Green’s caliber would be a major boon to the team’s offense, especially if the Bengals draft Joe Burrow and put him under center right away. The two sides were recently said to be far apart on contract talks, so this is shaping up to be one of this offseason’s most prominent storylines.

Tobin also touched on quarterback Andy Dalton and running back Joe Mixon. The consensus seems to be that the Bengals will look to trade Dalton or cut him if the right deal comes along, but there is also a possibility that he returns as a bridge to Burrow, as Geoff Hobson of writes. As with Green, Tobin said he has not ruled out any options when it comes to Dalton.

Mixon, meanwhile, is eligible for an extension for the first time this offseason, and Tobin plans to explore that possibility. Despite being one of the few dangerous skill position players on the team in 2019, Mixon went over 1,100 yards rushing for the second straight season, and he certainly looks the part of a long-term feature back.

Tobin suggested that the Bengals may be more active in the free agent market than they historically have been, but if they are earmarking a significant amount of money for Mixon and Green, they may not be able to spend as freely as they might like. But they should have enough cap space to make a few key signings, especially if they part ways with Dalton.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Mixon, Mayfield, Mahomes

Week 1 of the NFL season unfortunately saw a bunch of big names go down. Nick Foles is out indefinitely after breaking his clavicle, and Tyreek Hill will miss a few games with a shoulder issue. They weren’t the only ones to suffer potentially significant injuries, and we’ve got all the latest updates down below:

  • The 49ers already suffered a blow to their deep backfield when they placed Jerick McKinnon on IR prior to the start of the season, and now they’re down another member of the group. Tevin Coleman was knocked out of their Week 1 game against the Bucs by an ankle injury, and he left the locker room with a boot on his foot, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Maiocco notes he’ll have an MRI on Monday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game he was “concerned” about Coleman’s ankle, Matt Barrows of the Athletic tweeted. Shanahan also implied the team will promote Jeff Wilson Jr. from the practice squad, and said the team will look at adding outside running back help. Matt Breida figures to take on a more prominent role in the meantime while Coleman is sidelined.
  • Speaking of running backs with ankle injuries, Joe Mixon suffered one of his own. The Bengals’ runner is “believed to have just an ankle sprain,” according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, who tweets that “early reports [are] optimistic.” It’s unclear how sever the ankle sprain is, although fortunately it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a longterm absence for the Oklahoma product.
  • Baker Mayfield had a rough game in his highly anticipated 2019 debut. He threw three interceptions, and to make matters worse also hurt his hand. Mayfield had his wrist and hand wrapped and went for an X-Ray after the Browns’ to the Titans, sparking some concern. Fortunately he suffered only a bruise and the injury is “not considered serious,” a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).
  • Fans were also left holding their breath when Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went limping off the field. Mahomes returned to Kansas City’s win over the Jaguars, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game Mahomes had a sprained ankle, according to Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). It doesn’t sound like Mahomes will miss any games, although his mobility may be limited moving forward.
  • The Falcons got blown out by the Vikings, and they also lost a key piece. The team fears that rookie first-round pick Chris Lindstrom fractured his foot, according to Jay Glazer of The Athletic (Twitter link). Lindstrom won the competition to start at right guard, and the organization thinks very highly of the 14th overall pick. Lindstrom’s rookie year could be over, as former NFL team doctor David Chao tweets the type of fracture “will determine if part of the season can be salvaged.” Even if he does make it back, it won’t be for a while.

La Canfora’s Latest: Steelers, Bengals, Bucs

Antonio Brown‘s decision to skip practice on Monday represented a culmination of months of tension between the Steelers and their All-Pro receiver, according to Jason La Canfora of Brown was upset earlier this year after being told that his personal trainer and social media manager would no longer be welcome on Pittsburgh’s practice field, and some within the organization believe his multi-day absence during training camp — ostensibly due to a injury — was instead related to his disappointment. Ultimately, the Steelers believe Brown simply wants to win, but there is reportedly also concern with the club that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s close relationship with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner (and his subsequent influence on play-calling) could cause more strain in the locker room.

Here’s more from La Canfora:

  • Bengals running back Joe Mixon could potentially return to the field in time for Week 4, per La Canfora. Mixon underwent knee surgery immediately following Cincinnati’s Week 3 Thursday night victory, and initial assessments indicated he could be sidelined two-to-four weeks. However, because the Bengals played mid-week in Week 3, Mixon’s timeline could be sped up, meaning he could return to action when Cincinnati faces Atlanta next Sunday. A second-round pick in 2017, Mixon was outstanding during the Bengals’ season opener, averaging more than 5.5 yards per carry on the ground while adding five receptions in the passing game. Backup Giovani Bernard is holding down the fort while Mixon is out, while the Bengals also have Mark Walton and Thomas Rawls on their running back depth chart.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick is unlikely to be replaced as the Buccaneers‘ starting quarterback no matter how he fares against the Steelers on Monday night, reports La Canfora. While Jameis Winston will come off suspension prior to Week 4, Fitzpatrick has been among the league’s best quarterbacks through two games, as he leads the NFL passing yardage while racking up eight passing touchdowns. Fitzpatrick has internal support within the locker room (and especially from Tampa Bay’s offensive line), so the club’s coaching staff is unlikely to make a change any time soon. The Buccaneers face the Bears in Week 4 before heading into a bye the following week.
  • The Raiders will move to Las Vegas either in 2019 or 2020, and they could potentially need a temporary stadium for the 2019 campaign if no extension with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority can be reached. With that in mind, the Raiders have contacted the city of San Diego about playing there next season, says La Canfora, who notes that such as possibility is viewed as remote. More likely, the Raiders will play one year in Oakland, or spend next season sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers.

AFC North Notes: Gordon, Steelers, Mixon

Josh Gordon trekked to the Browns facility Saturday complaining of hamstring trouble, per’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), and that’s resulted in the team ruling him out for Sunday’s game against the Saints. Gordon did not travel with the Browns to New Orleans.

This escalated rapidly. Gordon was expected to suit up in Week 2 after playing in Week 1. But the receiver with a notorious penchant for unavailability was slow to return from his latest hiatus because of hamstring pain. Cleveland will attempt to stun New Orleans without him, and Gordon will miss yet another game. After Sunday, the 2013 All-Pro will have missed 55 of the Browns’ past 66 games.

From a player who’s struggled to a historic degree to stay on the field to one whose voluntary absence has generated one of the most unique holdouts in NFL history, here’s the latest from the AFC North.

  • The Steelers took Le’Veon Bell off their depth chart this week and barely anything came out of this saga this week. The running back remains absent from his team and will miss out on another $853K game check, Adam Schefter of tweets. Bell will have lost $1.7MM by the end of Week 2. This preservation-based holdout has generated concerns from around the league, and even if Bell limits himself to a half-season’s worth of work or less, he will still go into free agency with far more carries than typical running backs seeking second contracts do. Bell has 1,229 totes already, and that’s with him missing 19 career games. By season’s end, assuming he returns, that number figures to reside around at least 1,400. Seeking a Todd Gurley– or David Johnson-level pact is complicated by the fact those younger backs have 1,244 career carries combined.
  • Ben Roethlisberger‘s full practice Friday probably gave this away, but he is slated to play Sunday.’s Diana Russini tweets the 15th-year Steelers quarterback will suit up against the Chiefs in Week 2. An elbow injury cropped up and caused Big Ben to miss Pittsburgh’s Wednesday and Thursday practices, but he’ll be back for a key AFC matchup. With Roethlisberger in the lineup, the Steelers — counting 2016’s divisional-round win — have beaten the Chiefs six straight times dating back to the 2011 season. Kansas City’s one win over Pittsburgh this decade came in 2015 with Landry Jones at the controls.
  • Joe Mixon underwent knee surgery and is set to miss between two and four weeks of Bengals action. The surgery involving a small particle in Mixon’s knee being removed went well, Katherine Terrell of reports. This would explain the positive outlook the second-year running back’s received. Bengals brass initially feared Mixon would miss up to six games.

Bengals’ Joe Mixon To Miss 2-4 Weeks

Joe Mixon has already undergone surgery to repair a recent knee issue and will be out for a bit. However, the Bengals running back received some good news on this front.

A two- to four-week timetable now exists for Mixon’s recovery, Ian Rapoport of reports. But the Bengals’ initial expectation was for their starting running back to miss between four and six weeks, per Tom Pelissero of (on Twitter), so the second-year player encountered a less troublesome setback than initial fears indicated.

It’s possible, with the Bengals on a mini-bye because of their Thursday-night assignment, Mixon could miss merely one game — Week 3 against the Panthers — according to Rapoport. That might be pushing it, however, given the team’s worries at this process’ outset. The Bengals face the Falcons in Week 4; both of these upcoming NFC South contests are road games, however. Cincinnati then hosts Miami and Pittsburgh in Weeks 5 and 6.

Mixon injured his right knee in the Bengals’ Week 2 win over the Ravens. He’s off to a strong start, rushing for 179 yards (4.7 per carry) and a touchdown and totaling 57 receiving yards on just six catches. Passing-down back Giovani Bernard figures to see the bulk of the work during Mixon’s absence, just as he did when Mixon missed time in December of last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Fear Joe Mixon Needs Knee Surgery

UPDATE: Mixon will have a procedure to remove a “small particle in his knee that was dislodged Thursday night” on Saturday according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Schefter notes the operation is expected to sideline Mixon for just two weeks.

Joe Mixon missed part of Thursday night’s game, and the Bengals fear he’ll have to miss more time because of the knee injury he’s now battling.

The Bengals are concerned their starting running back will need to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of report (on Twitter). Mixon will seek a second opinion.

While having a knee scoped is not a season-ending development in most cases, it almost certainly would cause the second-year back to miss time. Mixon’s off to a good start, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and it’s helped the Bengals to a 2-0 record.

Mixon missing games would mean plenty of Giovani Bernard snaps. While the longtime Bengal is not a traditional between-the-tackles grinder, he’s in his sixth season with the team and now resides as the unquestioned top backup after Jeremy Hill‘s free agency departure.

Behind Bernard sit fourth-round rookie Mark Walton and third-year UDFA Tra Carson. Neither has recorded an NFL carry.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals RB Joe Mixon Suffers Concussion

Just as Bengals running back Joe Mixon was beginning to get comfortable with the NFL game, the team has officially ruled him out for rest the team’s Monday night game vs. the Steelers with a concussion.

Joe Mixon (Vertical)

The rookie running back took a big hit from both sides and was down on the ground for awhile until he was able to walk off under his own power to go through testing on the sideline.

Mixon, 21, had started off his NFL career fairly slowly given his lofty status coming out of the draft. Many experts speculated that the former Oklahoma Sooner was just as, if not more talented than top backs like Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook. However, Mixon had just rushed for his first 100 rushing performance last week in a win over Cleveland and was just starting to show that immense potential many thought he had coming into the 2017 NFL Draft. The primary reason why the Bengals were able to nab him in the second round was due to off-the-field concerns stemming from an assault he committed back in 2014.

Cincinnati will be on a short week after appearing on primetime tonight, so it remains to be seen whether Mixon will have enough time to recover from the injury for the team’s Week 14 game against the Bears.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Jags, Bengals

There was a team-wide brawl that took place between the Raiders and Broncos this afternoon, started by Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. The two have a had a go of it in the past, when both engaged each other during a game last season. However, this fight was capped off by Crabtree throwing and partly landing a punch at the head of Talib. Both players were immediately ejected from the game, which forced the veteran wideout to watch the rest of the contest from a suite, according to Paul Gutierrez of

  • The Raiders receiving corps took a further hit in the AFC West battle as they lost Amari Cooper for the game with a concussion, Gutierrez also passes along. The 23-year-old wideout suffered the injury when he was hit in the head by Broncos safety Darian Stewart on a collision over the middle of the field. There appeared to be no malicious intent behind the play, even though there was a personal foul penalty given. Nevertheless, Oakland may be without both their top receivers for next week’s game because of what transpired today versus Denver. The Raiders would need extra contributions from the likes of Seth Roberts, Johnny Holton and Cordarrelle Patterson should Crabtree get suspended and Cooper not pass concussion protocol.
  • The Jaguars were hit with a concussion of their own as starting linebacker Telvin Smith did not return after suffering the injury, reports Michael DiRocco of Smith has been one of many key contributors in what has turned into perhaps the best defense in football. This situation will certainly be worth monitoring throughout the upcoming practice week.
  • Bengals running back Joe Mixon had the best game of his professional career in the team’s blowout of the Browns. The second round pick tallied over 160 yards from scrimmage, while averaging exactly five yards per carry. Mixon had already been getting a lot of work in recent weeks, but finally broke through with a performance that he and the team were waiting for. “It feels great,” said Mixon, “The offensive line was great and the receivers did a great job blocking on the perimeters and we just went out and finished.” (Quote courtesy of Geoff Hobson of for Mixon to continue to be a big part of the Cincinnati offense in the last five games of the season.
  • In other Bengals news, backup quarterback A.J. McCarron was seen mingling with Browns head coach Hue Jackson and owner Jimmy Haslam before Sunday’s game. This is notable considering Cleveland tried to trade for the signal caller right before the deadline, but it’s not something that McCarron really focused on when discussing the interaction after the contest. “No point talking about the trade. It didn’t happen and it’s not going to happen now,” McCarron said. “I saw Mr. Haslam just to say hey to him. I’ve known Mr. Haslam through the whole draft process. I took a visit there. He’s a good Tennessee guy and you know the love between Tennessee and Alabama.” (Quote courtesy of Hobson).

AFC Notes: Mixon, Jets, Elway, Bell

Speaking with Sirius XM on Thursday, head coach Marvin Lewis delved into the Bengals’ decision to select controversial running back Joe Mixon with the 48th pick in the draft (via Conor Orr of The ex-Oklahoma Sooner was caught on video striking a woman back in 2014, which caused some teams to remove him from their draft boards. Not the Bengals, though, and Lewis explained that “a lot of time” and “a lot of research” went into picking Mixon. “Time spent with Joe. Time researching people around Joe. Joe’s past in East Bay [California],” he continued. “All those kinds of things that way. His past on campus at Oklahoma since the incident. So, there couldn’t be any other red flags to say, ‘Well, well, maybe…’ No, no, no. It had to be clean, and Joe knows that. He knows going forward, it has to stay clean all the time. He’s lived on the tip of the sword for three years now, and he’s got to continue to probably for the rest of his life.” If Mixon can avoid further off-field troubles, Lewis expects him to succeed in the pros, in part because “he’s off the charts talent-wise” and “as smart as a whip.”

More from the AFC:

  • In an interview with “Boomer & Carton” of WFAN on Thursday, Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall indicated that he requested his release from the rebuilding Jets in March because they’re not going anywhere in 2017 (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “For me, I just knew I couldn’t be in that environment,” said Marshall, who holds the unfortunate distinction of being the league’s current longest-tenured player without a postseason appearance (11 years). “I think everyone knows the type of personality I am at this point in my career. I wouldn’t have made it through an entire season knowing that we didn’t have a chance. That’s all you want as a player — you just want a chance.” Long after they cut ties with Marshall, the Jets released fellow veterans Eric Decker and David Harris in June. Marshall took exception with the timing in both cases, arguing that “it was too late in free agency” and calling the Jets’ maneuverings with Decker and Harris “bad business.” Harris’ agents made it known after his release that they were unhappy with the Jets, but the 10-year veteran did end up latching on with the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots just over two weeks later.
  • Toward the end of May, Broncos general manager John Elway expressed confidence that he would sign a contract extension by the start of the season. No agreement has come to fruition in the month and a half since, but the Broncos and the contract-year executive “have maintained dialogue recently,” reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Given that there’s no deal yet for Elway, the assumption is that discord or tension exists between the two sides, writes Jhabvala, but a team source shot down that notion.
  • The Steelers should not sign franchise-tagged running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term deal by Monday’s deadline, opines Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Running backs have short shelf lives, contends Zeise, who points out that the 25-year-old Bell has already accumulated 1,135 touches (908 rushes, 227 receptions) during his four seasons in the league. Adding to the risk, the league has suspended Bell twice, meaning he might not be trustworthy enough to extend. In Zeise’s estimation, then, what the Steelers should do is allow Bell to play the season under the $12.12MM tag and, if he fares well, tag him again for roughly $14.5MM in 2018. The Steelers could then let Bell walk when he’s exiting his prime. (For more on Bell, check out Zach Links’ piece from earlier this week.)