Joe Mixon Rumors: RB Has Had 'Productive' Contract Talks with BengalsMay 19, 2020
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon "had productive talks" with the team as he approaches the final year of his rookie contract, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
Mixon is set to earn $1.2 million in 2020 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
The 2017 second-round pick ran for 1,137 yards and five touchdowns while catching 35 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. Football Outsiders ranked him 17th in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) among the 45 running backs with at least 100 carries.
Duke Tobin, the Bengals' director of player personnel, told Lance McAlister of 700 WLW the team had been in negotiations with the former Oklahoma star about a long-term extension (via Pro Football Talk's Josh Alper):
"Joe's obviously a guy that's shown a lot of ability. He's in a year that he can be extended, and he is a guy that we visited with. 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."
Playing out the 2020 season with the idea of building his value further would make sense for Mixon. Although he has eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in each of the last two seasons, few would classify him as an elite running back.
However, the 24-year-old might be one of many talented running backs available on the open market.
Although the Carolina Panthers already gave Christian McCaffrey a four-year, $64 million extension, Todd Gurley, Derrick Henry, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara are all set for free agency.
Cook and Kamara could potentially hammer out contracts with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, respectively, but there will still probably be no shortage of proven options for teams looking to strengthen their backfield.
To some extent, that gives Mixon an incentive to get something finalized with the Bengals now.