In Bengals news, Joe Mixon's contract restructure was the first time the Cincinnati Bengals had ever done something like this. Also, who are the three players the franchise would build around?
Mixon agreed to restructure his contract on Friday and it's a move that made sense for both sides. The Bengals have to pony up and pay guys like Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Logan Wilson, and eventually Ja'Marr Chase. With Mixon set to make as much money as he was in 2023, it made sense for the team to ask him to take a pay cut.
Speaking of Burrow, he'd obviously be someone the Bengals would build around if they could only pick two players but who would the other two be? Chase seems like another obvious choice. Would the third spot go to another offensive player or a defensive guy?
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Joe Mixon contract restructuring is first for Bengals [Greg Wilson, Bengals Wire]
"Looking like they could be perennial contenders is also new for the Bengals, but with the team they have been able to put together, it seems like it could be a reality if they are able to lock up some of those guys long-term."- Greg Wilson
Three players to build around for every AFC team [Brad Spielberger, PFF]
Spielberger obviously included Burrow and Chase but he did not go with Tee Higgins for the third spot. He went with a defensive player, Trey Hendrickson, for that third and final spot.
"Hendrickson’s 90.4 pass-rush grade over the past three seasons ranks sixth among edge defenders, and his 16.5% pressure rate ranks fifth. He’s become an elite pass rusher and still has two years remaining on a very team-friendly deal, a solid building block for the defensive front to work around as the Bengals infuse young talent on that side of the ball."- Brad Spielberger
Best and Worst Cases for Each NFL Division Ahead of 2023 Training Camps [Gary Davenport, Bleacher Report]
The best case scenario from Davenport was "Four-Team Free-For-All" and the worst case scenario was "Backslide at the Top". It's entirely possible that all four teams in the AFC North could make the postseason but it also wouldn't surprise people if there was some drop-off from both the Bengals and the Ravens.