It’s official: Running back Joe Mixon has signed a four-year extension with the Bengals.
“We are excited that we got this done with Joe,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said in the release announcing the move. “He has been a valuable weapon for our offense and team. Joe provides great energy not only on the field but in the building as well, and we are ready to move forward as we prepare for the Chargers.”
A second-round pick in 2017, Mixon was entering the final year of his rookie contract. The fact that the Bengals didn’t simply squat on Mixon through 2020 and possibly franchise tag him in 2021 suggests that the team is handling its business differently than it would have in the past.
Paying Mixon a market-value deal (four-year, $48 million extension) also shows that the Bengals, who have been extremely careful with money, are changing when it comes both to rewarding their own players for past efforts and to paying them fairly for expected future production.
It’s an encouraging sign for the Bengals, especially as the Joe Burrow era commences. By loosening up the pursestrings and becoming more aggressive about signing key players early, the Bengals could be setting the stage to turn things around in a major way.