Joe Mixon Rumors: Bengals Star Wants New Contract to Be Among Top 8 for RBs

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2020

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon celebrates after an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Gary Landers/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is reportedly seeking a contract extension that puts him among the "eight highest-paid" players at the position.

Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported the update Monday and provided comments from Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin about the potential to get a deal done before the 2020 season gets underway in September.

"Joe is an important part of our team. He's a piece that we'd like to get extended and have around here a long time," Tobin said. "Typically, our extensions have gotten done during camp at some point."

Mixon has rushed for over 1,100 yards in each of the past two seasons, and his 2,888 yards from scrimmage over that span ranks eighth among NFL running backs, per Pro Football Reference.

"Joe's been a great player for us. We want him around here. We know what he is. He came in and earned it," Tobin said Monday. "He's a guy that we're proud of. Regardless of what's in the draft next year or what's in free agency, we know that Joe's a piece that we want. We'll work to see if that can come together."

Mixon is set to enter the final season of his four-year, $5.5 million rookie contract, which includes a $1.2 base salary for 2020.

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The New York Giants' Saquon Barkley owns the eighth-highest average salary among running backs at $7.8 million, per Spotrac. The Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey sits atop the list with a $16 million average salary after signing a four-year, $64 million extension in April.

In December, Mixon told reporters he wanted to become a "Bengal for life" but said he also understood it takes two sides to make a deal.

"I just hope I've put up enough tape for them to believe in me to want me back, you know what I'm saying? I don't know their thought process," he said. "If I did, I mean, I'd love to. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, I know I gave my all out there. I know what kind of back I am. I hope they know."

The Bengals selected Mixon in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft out of the University of Oklahoma.

He's set to lead a Cincinnati backfield that will also see Giovani Bernard as a consistent contributor as part of a high-upside offense led by first overall pick Joe Burrow. A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross III and Tee Higgins headline one of the league's most explosive pass-catching groups.

Burrow's development has been slowed by the elimination of on-field activities throughout the offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Bengals offense should steadily improve throughout the year as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner becomes more comfortable, though.

A key question will be whether Mixon remains among the talented group for 2021 and beyond.