Joe Mixon

Texans Offered Saquon Barkley Over $11MM Per Year; Team Pursued Tony Pollard, D’Andre Swift

With C.J. Stroud locked into rookie-deal money through at least 2025, the Texans have a rare opportunity. They can build around a low-cost quarterback who showed star potential as a rookie. The team made some moves to capitalize this offseason, deviating from a conservative first three years — with regards to free agency — under Nick Caserio.

The Texans added the likes of Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter, Azeez Al-Shaair and Denico Autry. Houston hoped to bring in a higher-salary target at running back as well, but mutual interest between the team and Saquon Barkley did not produce a deal. Despite rostering Jalen Hurts on a $51MM-per-year contract, the Eagles landed Barkley on a three-year, $37.75MM deal that includes $26MM guaranteed at signing. Barkley sits as the NFL’s fourth-highest-paid RB, cashing in after Giants negotiations produced a lesser offer and a franchise tag last summer.

Houston was willing to go into this neighborhood for Barkley, according to KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, who reports the team offered the two-time Pro Bowler a three-year deal worth just north of $33MM. The AAV here checks in just south of Barkley’s $12.58MM Philly number, but given the guarantee at signing the Eagles authorized, it is unsurprising the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year made the choice he did.

The wave of RB contracts authorized in the early 2020s have led to a few high-profile releases, pay cuts or trades. Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon and Derrick Henry are no longer attached to eight-figure-per-year accords. The Browns slashed Nick Chubb‘s pay last month, as the perennial Pro Bowler is coming off two knee surgeries, and Josh Jacobs‘ Packers deal only includes $12.5MM guaranteed at signing. Given the state of the RB position, Barkley did well to score the guarantee did he going into his seventh season.

Barkley, 27, said he was drawn to the Texans before considering the Eagles. But the Penn State alum certainly has Pennsylvania ties; much of his family is from the area. Although the Texans had the Eagles beat for cap space, they stood down on Barkley. The team soon gave Hunter a near-fully guaranteed contract and made an interesting commitment to Mixon. Just before the Bengals were set to release their seven-year starter, the Texans agreed to send a seventh-round pick for the veteran back. Mixon soon agreed to new terms with the Texans — two years, $19.75MM ($13MM guaranteed).

The Texans ended up giving Mixon a better deal than they proposed Devin Singletary, per Wilson, who adds the team offered its primary 2023 starter a contract averaging $4MM per year. Singletary agreed to a three-year, $16.5MM deal (with $9.5MM fully guaranteed) to reunite with Brian Daboll in New York.

As a Wilson pre-free agency report suggested, the Texans did discuss terms with Tony Pollard and D’Andre Swift. Pollard ended up with the Titans (three years, $21.75MM) and Swift became the first UFA from this year’s class to commit to a team, signing a three-year, $24MM deal with the Bears.

Only Barkley and Swift ($14MM) scored more fully guaranteed money among this year’s free agent RBs than Mixon, who is coming off his fourth 1,000-yard rushing season but has 1,854 career touches — third-most among active backs. Charged with elevating a Texans rushing attack that ranked 22nd last season, Mixon is going into his age-28 slate.

The Texans will count on Mixon, but Caserio said (via’s Coty M. Davis) Dameon Pierce — who followed up an impressive rookie season with a down 2023 — remains a “big part” of the team’s 2024 plan. The 2022 fourth-rounder averaged just 2.9 yards per carry last season, seeing Singletary usurp him as the Texans’ lead back down the stretch. The younger back will have a chance to rebound, albeit in a now-Mixon-fronted backfield.

Texans To Extend RB Joe Mixon

Not long after his arrival via trade, Joe Mixon has a new deal in place. The veteran running back has agreed to a three-year, $27MM extension including $13MM guaranteed, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Mixon had one year remaining on his Bengals contract and was due $5.75MM with a cap hit of $6.1MM. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes this agreement is a three-year accord which will take the place of his previous deal. It has a cashflow of $10MM in 2024 along with a base value of $25.5MM, he adds. The remaining $1.5MM will comprise incentives.

Once again facing an uncertain Bengals future, Mixon was traded to the Texans after it appeared he was bound to be released. Houston needed a new lead back with Devin Singletary joining the Giants, while Cincinnati moved on from the 27-year-old by signing Zack Moss. Rather than facing 2024 as a contract year, Mixon will now have some security with his new team.

The running back position has seen plenty of multi-year deals handed out early in free agency, despite the plethora of options at the position leading to the expectation of a buyer’s market. Mixon has joined the list of veterans receiving a (relatively) long-term commitment despite his age and usage. The Pro Bowler has received at least 210 carries in a season five times over the course of his career.

Despite questions about his sustainability as an every-down back, Mixon will clearly lead the depth chart in Houston given the terms of this deal. The Texans went on an impressive run to the divisional round of the playoffs thanks in large part to the play of quarterback C.J. Stroud and their passing game, but they struggled on the ground. The team ranked 22nd in the league in rushing, making RB a priority (especially in the event Singletary departed).

Mixon will partner with Dameon Pierce in Houston’s backfield for at least 2024 with the potential for a long-term arrangement. Pierce is on his rookie contract for two more years and, depending on the guarantee structure of Mixon’s pact, he likely will remain in place at least that long. It will be interesting to see how he fares on a new team for the first time in his career with a multi-year pact in hand.

Bengals To Trade RB Joe Mixon To Texans

Joe Mixon‘s time with the Bengals is indeed over, but he will not reach free agency. Rather than releasing the veteran back, Cincinnati is instead trading him to the Texans, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Monday night’s Bengals release indication now doubles as a last-call warning for teams, and the Texans will take a chance via trade. Houston lost its primary 2023 starter — Devin Singletary — after the 5-foot-7 back rejoined Brian Daboll in New York. Mixon will have an opportunity to play in Bobby Slowik‘s offense, joining 2022 fourth-round pick Dameon Pierce.

It will cost the Texans only a seventh-round pick to obtain Mixon, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Considering the Bengals were prepared to cut him, this return is not especially surprising.

This puts the Texans in position to pay the seven-year Bengals starter his $3MM roster bonus, which is due Saturday. The Bengals were rumored to be cutting bait after one season of Mixon’s reworked deal. The sides reached a resolution to keep Mixon in Cincinnati last summer, with his four-year, $48MM 2020 extension morphing into a two-year, $11.5MM pact. Although Mixon scored 12 touchdowns and finished with his fourth 1,000-yard season, he has now surpassed 1,500 career carries. The Bengals added a younger option — Zack Moss — to work with Chase Brown.

It is interesting to see the Texans pass on a player who produced in their system (Singletary) for an older option with considerably more tread on his tires. While Mixon will not turn 28 until later this year, he has amassed 1,571 career carries. That surpasses any back who changed teams during Monday’s historic player-movement day at the position.

In better cap shape compared to the Bengals, the Texans will owe Mixon only a $2.2MM base salary next season. The third-leading rusher in Bengals history, Mixon has four seasons with at least 1,400 scrimmage yards. The Bengals needed Mixon last season after letting Samaje Perine walk in free agency. But Brown and Moss are now in place to split up the workload — at a reduced rate — for a team whose roster now includes Joe Burrow‘s record-setting extension. The Texans, with C.J. Stroud, on a rookie deal will add Mixon as a rental of sorts.

Bengals To Cut Joe Mixon, Sign Zack Moss

Joe Mixon will not be on the Bengals’ roster when a bonus vests later this week. The Bengals are moving on from their seven-year starting running back,’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report.

This was a rumored scenario in Cincinnati, with Mixon agreeing to a reworked contract last summer. Cincy is also bringing in a replacement. Zack Moss will be the latest 2023 RB starter to change teams, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting the recent Colt will sign a two-year deal to join the Bengals. Moss will head for the AFC North on a two-year, $8MM pact. The Bengals will save $6.1MM by releasing Mixon, who was due a $3MM bonus Saturday.

Mixon came with considerable controversy when the Bengals drafted him — due to a video catching him striking a woman while at Oklahoma, leading to a team-imposed suspension — and a 2023 arrest became a headache for the team. (Mixon was found not guilty on an aggravated menacing charge in August.)

The 27-year-old back has operated as a fixture in Cincinnati’s offense dating back to the Marvin LewisAndy Dalton era. But last year’s contract redo — a two-year, $11.5MM pact that significantly reduced Mixon’s pay, after he had signed a four-year, $48MM deal in 2020 — displayed some wall writing for the Bengals, whose roster blueprint is different with Joe Burrow on an NFL-record extension.

The Bengals still leaned on Mixon in 2023, having lost Samaje Perine to the Broncos in free agency. Mixon churned out his fourth 1,000-yard season. In addition to clearing that barrier, Mixon crossed 1,400 scrimmage yards (1,410) for the fourth time. He added 12 touchdowns in what amounted to a lost season due to Burrow’s injury. As the musical chairs spin at this position, Mixon is much shorter on options than he was coming into Monday.

Mixon stood 35 yards away from James Brooks for second in Bengals rushing annals, and while he should have an opportunity in 2024, Cincinnati is moving on. The team will turn to Moss, who is going into his age-26 season. Moss impressed as the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor fill-in last season and will collect a bit of guaranteed money from his new team. The ex-Bills second-rounder will collect $4.5MM in the first year of this Bengals contract. Moss tallied 794 rushing yards and five touchdowns as a Colt last season, adding two receiving scores.

One of the teams to lose a running back today, the Cowboys were also in the mix for Moss. Dallas was not quite willing to go where Cincinnati was, per the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. Whereas Mixon has 1,571 carries on his odometer — more than any back to change teams today — Moss is at just 484. At a position where mileage matters most, the Bengals are rebooting. Moss will join Chase Brown and the recently re-signed Trayveon Williams in Cincinnati’s backfield.

Thus far Monday, 12 teams changed starting running backs. A few clubs still have needs, and Mixon will join Aaron Jones — also released today — and Derrick Henry as big names in search of a new opportunity.

Bengals’ Joe Mixon Found Not Guilty On Aggravated Menacing Charge

The Bengals retained Joe Mixon this offseason, despite a run of uncertainty regarding his status with the team. The seventh-year running back also received some good news on the legal front Thursday.

A judge found Mixon not guilty on the misdemeanor aggravated menacing charge that stemmed from a January road rage incident, WKRC12’s Christian Houser tweets. Mixon, 27, had pleaded not guilty to the charge in April. This led to a four-day trial that wrapped Thursday.

The Bengals running back was accused of pointed a gun at a woman during a traffic encounter, which occurred before the team was to gather at Paycor Stadium ahead of its departure for a divisional-round game in Buffalo. While police initially dropped the charge in February, it was refiled upon further review. A conviction could have resulted in 180 days in jail, but Thursday morning’s decision will close this chapter for the veteran back.

Mixon, of course, entered the NFL with ugly baggage. A video of him punching a woman in the face led to a season-long suspension at Oklahoma, and the Bengals faced criticism for drafting him in the 2017 second round. Mixon was not suspended for that incident, since it occurred before he entered the league, and has not been suspended since he was drafted. While the NFL’s personal conduct policy does not mandate a conviction for a suspension, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones tweets Mixon should not be expected to face a league penalty in connection with the January incident.

After Samaje Perine turned down a Bengals offer to sign with the Broncos, the defending AFC North champions still circled back to a Mixon pay cut. Months of rumors on that front led to Mixon accepting a steep reduction. Formerly tied to a $12MM-per-year contract, Mixon agreed to new terms that reduced his through-2024 deal to a two-year, $11.5MM pact.

Joe Mixon Addresses Bengals Pay Cut

Joining Aaron Jones in accepting a pay cut off a $12MM-per-year contract this offseason, Joe Mixon accepted a steeper pay slash compared to the Packers running back. The seventh-year Bengals back is now tied to what can be labeled a two-year, $11.5MM deal — one that gives the Bengals flexibility to move on after the 2023 season.

Mixon entered the offseason as one of eight backs tied to eight-figure-per-year extensions. While he remains under contract nearly three years after agreeing to a four-year, $48MM Cincinnati extension, the former second-round pick is now making a fraction of the AAV he signed up for in 2020. With Samaje Perine gone, however, Mixon is the clear-cut Bengals starter. And it is not out of the question his workload increases in 2023.

I see the bigger picture. I see the task at hand and what we’re trying to build and in order to keep other players here and pieces here, sometimes you have to sacrifice,” Mixon said, via’s Geoff Hobson. “I felt like this year was the year to sacrifice on the Super Bowl team we can potentially be.

That was my stance on it. We agreed on a number with great compensation this year with the incentives. Off my last deal, I feel like they allowed me to work to be able to make that money back. That’s cool. I’ll go work for it.”

Mixon, 27, took a $4.39MM pay cut for this season and trimmed $4.67MM off his 2024 salary. Although the Packers slashed Jones’ 2023 salary by $5MM, he received $8.52MM in guarantees in exchange for the cut. While Mixon is at $11.5MM over the next two years, Jones is at $23MM. It will cost the Packers $12.4MM in dead money — in a non-post-June 1 scenario — to release Jones in 2024; Mixon can be cut for just $2.75MM in dead money next year.

Had Mixon refused the pay cut, he would have joined the likes of Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt as proven veterans unsigned in a year when the running back market crashed. This undoubtedly influenced the Bengals’ terms when they approached Mixon with the long-rumored cut. But Mixon will be Cincinnati’s starting back for a seventh year. With 71 starts to his credit, Mixon will move into third place on the Bengals’ all-time list — behind James Brooks and Corey Dillon — early this season. He sits just more than 1,000 rushing yards shy of Brooks for second in team history in rushing.

Mixon is coming off a down season and has totaled 1,545 career touches. The Oklahoma product will have a chance to prove last year (1,255 scrimmage yards, down from 1,519 during the Bengals’ Super Bowl LVI season) did not mark a clear sign of a decline while operating as the lead back on what again looks like one of the NFL’s best teams.

Details On Joe Mixon’s Reworked Deal With Bengals

JULY 23: offers more clarity on Mixon’s pay cut. Essentially, the reworked deal can be viewed as a two-year, $11.5MM contract with $4.13MM guaranteed. Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic (subscription required) classifies the guaranteed money as a signing bonus, while OTC says it’s a roster bonus.

In either case, Mixon — who will also earn a veteran minimum $1.08MM base salary in 2023 — secured his place on the roster for the upcoming season. Dehner also confirms the original report that the former Pro Bowler can earn up to $2MM in incentives this year. However, while Dehner acknowledges that the restructure techincally allows the Bengals to retain Mixon in 2024, he does not believe that will happen unless Mixon turns in a “monster 2023.”

If Cincinnati were to cut Mixon next offseason, it would incur just $2.8MM in dead money.

JULY 15: Joe Mixon is staying in Cincinnati, but he had to take a significant pay cut to do so. We heard yesterday that the running back had restructured his contract to stick in Cincinnati, and we’re now getting details on what Mixon actually gave up.

[RELATED: Bengals, Joe Mixon Finalizing Restructure]

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), Mixon took a $4.39MM pay cut for the 2023 campaign and a $4.67M pay cut for the 2024 campaign. The running back’s base salary is now down to $5.51MM, and he can earn another $2MM via incentives in 2023. As Rapoport notes, this restructuring will also increase the chances of Mixon sticking around for the 2024 season.

Mixon was still playing on a four-year, $48MM deal he signed with the Bengals in 2020. The Bengals were fine carrying Mixon and his $11.42MM cap hit during the 2022 season, especially coming off a 2021 campaign where he had career-highs in rushes (292), rushing yards (1,205), and rushing touchdowns (13). However, with the organization facing pricey extensions for foundational pieces like Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, the front office had to get creative.

As a result, Mixon was already a common candidate to earn a pay cut this offseason. The veteran running back was set to earn $10.1MM in 2023 and was attached to a $12.79MM cap hit. The Bengals stood to save over $7MM by releasing him, and that number would have been bumped to $10MM if they did so as a post-June 1 cut. Instead, both sides decided to stick together and agree to a reworked deal.

Considering the plight of the current crop of free agent RBs (including Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott) and extension-seeking RBs (including Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs), it made sense for Mixon to secure his roster spot for (likely) the next two seasons. The 26-year-old didn’t have his strongest campaign in 2022, finishing with only 814 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

It also made sense for the Bengals to renegotiate a restructured deal vs. outright releasing the veteran. The team lost Samaje Perine this offseason, leaving little experienced depth behind Mixon. Behind the starter, the Bengals are eyeing depth pieces like fifth-round rookie Chase Brown, special teamer Trayveon Williams, and former sixth-round pick Chris Evans.

Bengals, Joe Mixon Finalizing Restructure

Possibly in danger of becoming a cap space casualty, running back Joe Mixon agreed to restructure his contract in order to remain with the Bengals, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The veteran rusher will return for his seventh season in Cincinnati in 2023.

Mixon’s uncertain future with the team has been a topic of discussion over the last few months. If the team had decided to cut the former Pro Bowler, they stood to save over $7MM by releasing him and over $10MM if they did so as a post-June 1 cut. The Bengals had already seen the departures of running back Samaje Perine, tight end Hayden Hurst, and safeties Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates III, but with a big money addition like offensive tackle Orlando Brown and a new contract for linebacker Germaine Pratt, it seemed like Cincinnati might need to start nickeling and diming where it could. This point seems even more prudent when considering the young star talent like quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who both will need hefty new contracts in the near future.

It became public knowledge that the Bengals would pursue a pay cut for Mixon months ago. In 2020, they had signed the tailback to a four-year, $48MM contract that made him a top-five paid running back in the league at the time. After Mixon rewarded the Bengals’ faith in him with a career-year that saw Mixon reach career-highs in rushes (292), rushing yards (1,205), and rushing touchdowns (13), the Bengals seemed content carrying Mixon into 2022 despite an $11.42MM cap hit. A $12.76MM cap hit in 2023 after missing three games and only amassing 814 rushing yards last year was going to be a tougher pill to swallow. A misdemeanor charge in April didn’t help things.

Still, head coach Zac Taylor vouched for the 26-year-old, establishing that Mixon’s future was “with the team,” and the front office continued to try to work towards an agreeable number on a pay reduction. As time went on, it began to seem that the only route that led to Mixon retaining his roster spot was a pay cut. Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic laid out that “Mixon was always going to either take a paycut (sic) or decide to take a walk.” In the end, the franchise’s first ever successful restructured contract, according to Dehner, resulted in Mixon staying put.

The deal is not only beneficial for Mixon, who gets to remain in the only NFL home he’s ever known. The Bengals also get some security at the running back position. Even with Mixon still in the fold, Cincinnati was looking into the addition of experienced rushers to supplement the group behind Mixon. Returning backups Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans combined for 30 rushing yards last season, and rookie fifth-round pick Chase Brown is the only other back expected to make the 53-man roster. The lack of experienced depth behind Mixon is troubling, but if Mixon were to have left, it would’ve left Cincinnati in a desperate position.

Instead, Mixon returns to a very clear role as RB1. The team may still add another veteran running back for depth down the line, as it’s hard to see Mixon in a three-down role in 2023, but the Bengals secured what is likely the most important piece in their rushing game in a way that benefits both parties. Mixon takes less money than he was originally due but avoids what has been a treacherous running back free agency market in the process.

Bengals Eyeing RB Addition?

The uncertain status of Joe Mixon clouds the Bengals’ future at the running back position, but the top of the depth chart is not the only place where questions remain. Regardless of what happens with Mixon, a depth addition would not come as a surprise.

A pay cut has been floated as a potential solution for Mixon to remain in place as the focal point of Cincinnati’s backfield, but few developments on that front have emerged recently. Team and player are hoping to have the situation resolved soon, with the Bengals having a number of other priorities to deal with in the summer, including extensions for the likes of Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson.

The loss of Mixon in particular would create a hole at the RB spot, however, and require a late addition aimed at filling it. As things stand, the free agent departure of Samaje Perine has led to questions about which back would occupy his pass-catching role. The incumbent options – veteran Trayveon Williams, 2021 sixth-rounder Chris Evans and fifth-round rookie Chase Brown – offer little-to-no experience in that regard at the NFL level.

As a result, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic predicts that another running back will be added during the summer to provide a known commodity on third downs (subscription required). Williams and Evans have combined to make just 26 receptions in their careers, while the majority of Brown’s production at Illinois came on the ground rather than through the air. Giving Mixon (if retained) a three-down role for 2023 is unlikely, Dehner notes, meaning the Bengals could be players on the open market.

Deep into what has been an underwhelming offseason at the running back spot, several options are available as short-term options while the team evaluates its younger players at the position. Evans, for instance, is in danger of losing his roster spot if training camp does not produce an impressive performance, per Dehner. High-profile names like Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott are still unsigned, but other veterans such as Kareem Hunt and J.D. McKissic would be better-suited if a strictly pass-catching role is the one being targeted.

The Bengals currently have just under $15MM in cap space, but that figure will be subject to change in the coming weeks, especially if Mixon is released (a move which would yield over $10MM in cap savings). Plenty will depend on the Pro Bowler’s fate, of course, but the team will be one to watch on the summer RB market as they look to replace Perine’s notable backup production.

Bengals, Joe Mixon Aiming For Near-Future Resolution On Contract

On the radar for several weeks, the Joe Mixon pay-cut situation still lingers for the Bengals. The seventh-year veteran went through Cincinnati’s minicamp in his usual starting role, but he is still not a lock to be on the team when it begins padded practices in August.

While vested veterans’ salaries do not become guaranteed until the Tuesday before Week 1, the Bengals and Mixon want this situation resolved “sooner rather than later,” Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Mixon, 27 in July, is tied to a $9.4MM base salary this year; the Bengals have long aimed to reduce that.

This probably is not going over well with Mixon, but his status has been an uncertainty since before the running back position began sustaining steady body blows. Bengals executive VP Duke Tobin said back at the Combine that Mixon’s status on the 2023 roster would be determined, and word of a pay-cut request emerged in mid-April.

As we wrap up June, Mixon remains tied to the four-year, $48MM contract he signed just before the 2020 season. The Bengals may be waiting to hammer out their Joe Burrow extension before addressing the Mixon matter, but no updates have come out on the quarterback’s negotiations in some time. With Burrow’s talks partially tied to how the Chargers proceed with Justin Herbert, the team may need to reach a Mixon agreement before Burrow signs.

This year has brought grim updates for the running back position. The Cowboys and Vikings shed two of the position’s top four deals from their respective payrolls, releasing Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook. Although Aaron Jones‘ restructure came with more 2023 security, the Packers back agreed to a $5MM pay cut. The Chargers refused to give Austin Ekeler, the NFL’s touchdown leader in each of the past two seasons, a raise; a minor incentive package became the solution instead. Miles Sanders‘ $6.35MM-per-year contract led the way for a deep free agency class this year. None of the three franchise-tagged backs — Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard — have extensions in place. Sanders said this week that “it sucks to be a running back right now.”

The developments of the past few months may point to the Bengals asking for a significant Mixon reduction — perhaps more than the Packers $5MM Jones trim. With the likes of Elliott, Cook, Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt unsigned, the Bengals still have outside options. But the team is unlikely to consider those UFAs until they drop their asking prices, Dehner adds. This creates an interesting scenario for the AFC power.

The Vikings were rumored to be seeking a Cook cut, but they are not believed to have offered a specific number before releasing their 2017 RB draftee. Coming off a down year, Mixon is seemingly short on options. But the Bengals did lose Samaje Perine to the Broncos in free agency. The Bengals are believed to have offered their veteran backup a deal similar to the two-year, $7.5MM terms the Broncos proposed. Cincinnati used a fifth-round pick on Illinois’ Chase Brown and has fifth-year player Trayveon Williams and third-year back Chris Evans rostered as well. None of the team’s other options profiles as a starter. Perine’s exit provides apparent Mixon leverage, but the cadre of accomplished free agents would stand to undercut it.

Mixon did earn a Pro Bowl nod after totaling 1,519 scrimmage yards and 16 touchdowns — both career-high marks — in 2021, helping the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI. This extension, like those given to Cook and Jones, has benefited the team. But the state of the market — and the contract statuses of Burrow, Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson — prompted the Bengals to make this play. Mixon’s response will either keep the Bengals’ stacked skill-position corps intact or add another big name to the free agent mix.