As Joe Mixon enters the last year of his contract, he and the Cincinnati Bengals need to work quickly to get a deal done.
Joe Mixon has been a star player since the day he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2017 draft. The former Oklahoma Sooner has put up two seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing despite playing behind an offensive line with a lot of holes. Entering the last year of his contract, it is important for both Mixon and the Bengals to get a deal done quickly.
For the Bengals, locking in a star who is entering the prime of his career is a must. This would be true any time in any organization, but especially when it comes to Cincinnati, as they try to allow their rookie quarterback to become the franchise guy. The more opposing defenses have to respect the run game, the better adjustments Joe Burrow can make to the speed of the NFL.
The other reason the Bengals may want to get this deal done quickly is to beat the rush on a loaded running back class. If teams decide to sign their backs this year (as we have already seen with Derrick Henry) the value of the position may start climbing north of what Cincinnati is hoping to pay.
Joe Mixon should push for a quick deal too
On the other side, Mixon should feel some pressure to get a deal done and not hit free agency as well.
The 2021 running back free agency class will have nine players that are scheduled to hit the open market after rushing for 1,000 yards last season. While not all of them will end up available, the class is still saturated and offers teams a wide variety to chose from.
Add in the fact that teams are continuing to put less value on the position and there’s a scenario where Mixon doesn’t see the kinds of rewards in free agency he is hoping for. Both sides have the incentive to get a deal done quickly, but finding the right number could still be tricky based on where the two sides see his value.