Joe Mixon

Bengals Move Joe Mixon To IR

Joe Mixon‘s recovery from a foot injury has not gone as expected. And the process hit another snag Saturday.

The Bengals placed their standout running back on IR, sidelining him for at least the next three games. The earliest Mixon can now return is Week 14. He has not played since Week 6.

This has marked by far the longest absence of the former Round 2 pick’s career. He entered the season having missed four combined games in three years. Mixon, however, did well to secure an extension — a four-year, $48MM pact — from the Bengals before encountering an injury-marred fourth season.

While the Bengals have continually delayed Mixon’s return timetable, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) this latest setback does not mean they will shelve their starter until 2021. Mixon is expected to return when first eligible — in three weeks.

Giovani Bernard and Samaje Perine stand to continue to serve as Cincinnati’s primary backfield presences in Mixon’s absence. The Bengals have given Bernard, a 2013 second-round pick, two extensions. The second of which, in 2019, was an agreement to keep serving as Mixon’s backup. Both Mixon and Bernard are averaging 3.6 yards per carry behind an embattled Bengals offensive line. Mixon surpassed 1,100 rushing yards in 2018 and ’19, despite substandard Cincy O-lines.

The Bengals promoted guard Quinton Spain and cornerback Jalen Davis from their practice squad.

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Contract Details: Decker, Mixon, Ngakoue, Dotson

There have been a handful of extensions, reworked contracts, and brand-new deals signed over the past few weeks. We’ve provided updates on some of those notable deals below:

  • Taylor Decker, LT (Lions): Four-year, $60MM extension. Includes $7.5MM signing bonus (paid out in 17 installments in 2020). Salaries: $6.85MM (2020), $13MM fully guaranteed (2021), $14.75MM fully guaranteed (2022), $13.7MM (2023), $12.95MM (2024). $250K workout bonuses (2022-2024), $500 roster bonus (2024). Via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter.
  • Joe Mixon, RB (Bengals): Four-year, $48MM extension. Includes $10MM signing bonus. Salaries: $1.3MM (2020), $8MM (2021), $8MM (2022), $9.4MM (2023). $9.6MM club option in 2024. $500K in playing time bonuses, $200K in offseason workout bonuses (each season). Via Rapoport on Twitter.
  • Yannick Ngakoue, DE (Vikings): One year, $12MM reworked deal. $8MM base salary and $4MM signing bonus. Via Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling on Twitter.
  • Demar Dotson, RT (Broncos): One-year, $3MM deal. $1.15MM salary ($400K guaranteed). $100K roster bonus, $250K game-day roster bonuses. $1.5MM in incentives. Via Mike Klis of 9News on Twitter.

Bengals, Joe Mixon Agree To $48MM Deal

The Bengals and Joe Mixon have agreed to a four-year deal worth $48MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). With that, the Bengals now have their primary running back under contract through 2025. 

Mixon, 24, has been pushing for a new deal throughout the summer. The Bengals remained adamant about wanting to extend him, but talks were slow to progress. Last week, Mixon said that he was unable to practice due to migraines, and that may have helped to speed things up. Now, Mixon will earn an average of $12MM/year starting in 2021, after he finishes out his rookie deal, which pays $1.2MM.

He’s in a year that he can be extended, and he is a guy that we visited with,” Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said earlier this summer. “We’ll go through those discussions and see if there is a fit or a match for a long-term contract with him, obviously a guy we value quite a bit. The great thing about Joe is he goes about it the right way He’s the type of guy you want to lock up to a long-term deal.

Mixon managed a respectable 4.1 yards per carry average last year, despite the Bengals’ sagging offense. This year, he’ll look to reprise his 2018 performance which included a 4.9 YPC mark.

Mixon’s deal, as expected, falls short of Christian McCaffrey‘s $16MM/year mega-deal, but also exceeds some of the projections we heard earlier this year. At one point, it was reported that Mixon was gunning to be one of the eight highest-paid RBs in the league, which would have required just $8MM/year. His actual figure, $12MM per annum, seems more in line with Mixon’s talent level.

The complete details of the deal will give us a better picture of how Mixon stacks up against the league’s other top-earning rushers. That info will also inform ongoing talks for other standouts like Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook.

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Latest On Bengals’ Joe Mixon

Joe Mixon has been out of Bengals practice for the last few days with migraines, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, Mixon is in talks with the Bengals, who are probably hoping that Mixon isn’t looking to cause headaches for the front office. 

[RELATED: Bengals’ Trae Waynes To Miss Time]

The Bengals have been adamant about wanting to extend Mixon, but talks have been slow to progress. For now, Mixon is set to play out the final year of his rookie deal with a salary of just $1.2MM. The 24-year-old is clearly in line for a pay bump, however, and Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin recently pointed out the team’s history of extending players during training camp.

As camp draws to a close, Mixon is said to be seeking Top 8 RB money. That would mean an average annual value of at least $8MM – a substantial, but not unreasonable, raise.

The Bengals currently have upwards of $20MM in available cap room. If they’re not aiming for another major addition, it might behoove them to frontload Mixon’s deal and ease the burden in 2021, when the cap is expected to shrink.

Mixon managed a respectable 4.1 yards per carry average last year, despite the Bengals’ sagging offense. This year, he’ll look to reprise his 2018 performance which included a 4.9 ypc mark.

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Latest On Joe Mixon, Bengals

Back in May, Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said that the team was interested in extending RB Joe Mixon, and unsurprisingly, his stance has not changed.

“[Mixon] is an important part of our team,” Tobin said, via Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He’s a piece that we’d like to get extended and have around here a long time. Typically, our extensions have gotten done during camp at some point.”

As Dragon observes, Tobin’s statement that the team usually extends players during training camp is noteworthy, as it suggests that the team could finalize something with Mixon in the coming weeks. Indeed, WR Tyler Boyd signed his extension shortly before camp opened last year, and Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap got new deals in August 2018.

For now, Mixon is set to play out the 2020 season on the final year of his rookie deal, which would pay him a salary of just $1.2MM. Given his importance to the team and his performance to date, that would be a major underpay.

However, the 24-year-old is not necessarily trying to break the bank. Per Dragon’s sources, Mixon is hoping his next deal will land him among the eight highest-paid running backs in the league. That would mean an average annual value of at least $8MM, which seems like a reasonable ask.

At present, the Bengals have about $24MM of cap room, but with the salary cap set to drop significantly in 2021, any rollover money would be helpful. Still, the team’s cap situation shouldn’t be an obstacle to a Mixon extension.

Mixon’s YPC average dropped to 4.1 last season after a very strong 4.9 mark in 2018, but he didn’t have much talent around him. With A.J. Green back in the fold and Joe Burrow under center, Mixon — who has posted back-to-back seasons with over 1,100 rushing yards — could be in for a big year.

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Bengals Hope To Extend Joe Mixon

The 2017 draft class produced many of the league’s starting running backs, and beyond the recently extended Christian McCaffrey, some of the top names have begun discussing new deals. Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon comprise this contingent thus far.

Set to employ Joe Burrow on a rookie salary through at least 2022, the Bengals will have more financial flexibility in the next few years. And they want to extend Mixon. One season remains on the former second-rounder’s rookie contract.

He’s in a year that he can be extended, and he is a guy that we visited with,” Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said during an interview with 700 WLW’s Lance McAllister (via Pro Football Talk). “We’ll go through those discussions and see if there is a fit or a match for a long-term contract with him, obviously a guy we value quite a bit. The great thing about Joe is he goes about it the right way.

… He’s the type of guy you want to lock up to a long-term deal. We’ll see if we can find the commonality to get that done over time here.”

Mixon is coming off back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons, doing so without the aid of an upper-echelon offensive line in either season. The former Oklahoma back finished last season with 100-yard games in three of Cincinnati’s final four games. The Bengals are unlikely to venture into the salary range of McCaffrey’s running back-record $16MM-per-year deal, and the franchise will surely take into account the expensive contracts for backs that have not worked out — from Todd Gurley to David Johnson to Le’Veon Bell.

The Bengals and Mixon may have to work out a compromise that places him in the upper reaches of the running back market. Unless the Bengals plan to use their franchise tag on A.J. Green again next year, they would have that in play for Mixon. The Titans and Cardinals respectively tagged Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake, with Arizona deploying the transition tag, and the Bengals will have that as leverage in talks with their 23-year-old starter.

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North Notes: Griffen, Robinson, Bengals

Everson Griffen is one of the top two pass rushers still on the market, and we heard last month that he would probably not re-sign with the Vikings. However, Minnesota did not do much to add to its pass rushing corps in the draft, with South Carolina DE D.J. Wonnum representing the most notable addition. And while GM Rick Spielman acknowledged that his team’s cap space makes it difficult to bring Griffen back, he did not rule it out.

“It is hard to say right now where everything is at and where we are at, [but] until things become more normalized I will never say never on a player,” Spielman recently said on the #PFTPM podcast (via PFT’s Mike Florio). “[Y]our roster is never set.”

Griffen has expressed an interest in joining the Seahawks, but Seattle is still open to bringing back Jadeveon Clowney. If Clowney returns to the ‘Hawks, perhaps Griffen will settle for a one-year deal on a Minnesota defense that he will not have to learn on the fly.

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Of the three OTs the Vikings added in this year’s draft, only second-rounder Ezra Cleveland profiles as an immediate threat to incumbent LT Riley Reiff. The team could again entertain the notion of kicking Reiff inside to LG, but that’s only if Cleveland proves himself ready for starting left tackle duties, which would be a tall order given the COVID-19 restrictions. So as Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune suggests, Reiff will likely stay at LT for the time being, and 2019 fourth-rounder Dru Samia will compete with Pat Elflein for the starting LG slot. The team could also target a free agent for that role, including Josh Kline, whom the Vikings released in a cost-cutting move in March.
  • Bears WR Allen Robinson said towards the end of last season that he is interested in an extension with Chicago, but the two sides do not appear to be close to a new deal, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Robinson is ticketed for free agency after the 2020 campaign, and Biggs suggests that the franchise tag could be in play if there is no extension in place by the second month of the season.
  • Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic says both A.J. Green and the Bengals have interest in getting a long-term deal done, but it’s unclear exactly how much interest. He expects that nothing will come together prior to the July 15 deadline, which means Green will have to play out the 2020 season on his franchise tender. While there’s a better chance Cincinnati comes to terms with RB Joe Mixon on a new contract, that will not happen before a decision on Green is made. The Bengals are reportedly bracing themselves for a Mixon holdout.
  • In the same piece linked above, Dehner says the Bengals are unlikely to make any free agent additions to the O-line at this point. In a separate piece, he notes that Cincinnati made a free agent splash on cornerbacks in free agency because it did not like this year’s CB draft class. The team did not take a defensive back with any of its seven selections.

North Notes: Mixon, Browns, OBJ, Vikings

Although Christian McCaffrey landed his extension, the other members of 2017’s loaded running back class remain on rookie deals. The BengalsJoe Mixon resides in this camp. The sides have begun negotiations, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic, who adds the Bengals are preparing for a Mixon holdout if no extension is agreed upon (subscription required). The Bengals are not prepared to pay Mixon on the $16MM-per-year level — the new standard for backs after McCaffrey’s deal — according to Dehner. The team would like to extend him, Dehner adds, just not in that price neighborhood. Cincinnati’s starting back is going into his age-24 season. Mixon’s contract does not contain a fifth-year option; he is set to earn $1.2MM next season.

With the exception of Ezekiel Elliott, the latest run of big-ticket running back contracts has mostly burned teams. Todd Gurley and David Johnson are elsewhere after signing lucrative Rams and Cardinals extensions, respectively, and Le’Veon Bell ($13.1MM AAV) did not fare well in his first Jets season. Despite playing behind shaky offensive lines, Mixon is coming off back-to-back 1,100-yard rushing seasons. The Bengals have he, Giovani Bernard and 2019 draft choice Trayveon Williams under contract.

Here is more from the NFL’s North divisions:

  • A rumor circulated Wednesday connecting the Browns to engaging in Odell Beckham Jr. trade discussions with the Vikings. The rumor indicated the proposed compensation discussed was a package featuring second- and fifth-round picks. Quickly debunking this, cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reports no such talks occurred (Twitter link). It would be odd to see the Vikings shed Stefon Diggs‘ contract only to add Beckham’s $18MM-AAV deal. Beckham was again mentioned in trade rumors at the end of last season, but the latest Browns regime said the plan is to keep the star wideout for the 2020 season. Beckham’s deal could become a trade asset at some point, with the Giants having eaten all the dead money associated with it.
  • One of many defenders with whom the Browns agreed to one-year contracts, Karl Joseph remains in limbo to a degree. The former Raiders safety suffered a broken foot last season and underwent surgery. However, Joseph has not taken a Browns physical yet, Cabot notes. Joseph is the only member of this Browns free agency class not to have taken his physical, Cabot adds. There are no plans for Joseph to take a physical in the near future, but GM Andrew Berry does not expect this to be an issue that nixes the parties’ $2.5MM agreement.
  • It’s been a while since the Packers have authorized a major running back extension, but they are discussing a new deal with Aaron Jones.

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 Bengals.com 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.

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