Cincinnati Bengals and Star Running Back Resolve Contract Dispute

The Cincinnati Bengals and running back Joe Mixon have reached a compromise. After months of contract negotiations and rumors of an impending release, the Pro Bowler agreed to a $3 million pay cut in order to remain with the only pro team he has ever played for. ProFootballTalk broke the story earlier this afternoon.

Mixon reduced his salary from a non-guaranteed $9 million to a little under $6 million. In exchange, he'll get the opportunity to earn back $2 million in incentives. He had been the subject of cut speculation for much of the offseason.

Mixon is only 26 years old and coming off a reasonably effective season (1255 yards from scrimmage, 4.6 yards per touch), but teams around the NFL simply don't value running backs like they used to. The Minnesota Vikings released Dalvin Cook after a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl season earlier this month primarily due to a $14.1 million cap hit; Cook was more productive (1468 yards from scrimmage) and efficient (4.8 yards per touch) than Mixon in 2022.

Before today's adjustment, Mixon had one of the last remaining big-money deals for a running back in the league. Even now, his money remains respectable; given the current state of the running back market, it's very unlikely he could have matched what he'll earn with the Bengals this season. 

Mixon has been with the Bengals since they drafted him 48th overall in 2017. His 5378 rushing yards rank fifth in franchise history, and another solid season could lift him as high as second. 

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