Bengals GM not binding on Joe Mixon’s future with the team; Former Pro Bowl RB could be a Cap victim

Bengals general manager Duke Tobin made it clear that the star wide receiver Tee Higgins will stay Part of the Cincinnati Bengals plans. However, Tobin made no such assurances regarding Joe Mixon, as the former Pro Bowl running back could be added to the list of accomplished jams that may be available soon.

Tobin quoted a character from The Office when asked about Mixon’s future with the team.

“I’m not going to predict the off-season because I don’t have the answers,” Tobin said of The Athletic. “To paraphrase the great Kevin Malone, ‘I don’t know.'”

Mixon has two years left on a $48 million extension he signed in 2020. A cap hit of $12,761,754 million is forecast for the upcoming season. However, it seems likely that Mixon would restructure his contract ahead of next season should he stay with the team.

While the Bengals have plenty of leeway (Cincinnati is currently sixth in the NFL in that area), they have several urgent contracts to deal with. The team is expected to renew Joe Burrow’s contract this offseason. Recipients Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase are also lining up to receive extensions.

A second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mixon has been an integral part of the Bengals’ recent success. He was called to his first Pro Bowl in 2021 after hitting career highs with 1,205 rushing yards and 13 touchdown runs. He gained over 1,200 all-purpose yards and had nine touchdowns last season despite missing three games with an injury.

The former Oklahoma standout has also performed well in the past two postseasons. In seven playoff games, he has gained 582 all-purpose yards. Mixon, who had 72 yards on 15 carries in Super Bowl XVI, rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown in January’s division round playoff win over the Bills.

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Given his past successes and the fact that he’s still only 26 years old, the Bengals would probably be happy to keep Mixon in the herd. But as the NFL Combine’s Tobin pointed out Tuesday, changes must be made so the Bengals can retain their most valuable assets.

“Joe was a good player for us. He was a pretty important component of what we do,” Tobin said. “I can’t predict what the offseason will bring,” Tobin said. “I cannot predict what other deals will be made or how much money we will need. There might be a chance to renegotiate some people on our team. There might be a chance to expand some people in our team.

“There are a lot of moving parts here too. I think the blanket statement I can make is if you have a good player who is productive, do what you can to keep him on your football team.”

If fired, Mixon would join Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard as top running backs to be available in free agency. Ezekiel Elliott could also join that list of backs if the Cowboys decide to release him while freeing up more cap space.

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