Joe Mixon, who has spent the past week battling “migraines,” was all smiles upon his return to Bengals practice, cheezing for the camera in a Twitter post Tuesday afternoon.
So why is Mixon, who has spent the summer sulking about his uncertain contract status, suddenly so chipper? Maybe it’s all the zeros in his bank account.
WebMD recommends ibuprofen for migraines, but apparently $48 million works just as well. Mixon’s new pact, which keeps him in Bengals orange and black through 2024 (his age-28 season), makes him the league’s sixth-highest-paid running back in average annual salary, coming in just shy of Derrick Henry’s $12.5 million AAV.
Many teams hesitated to associate themselves with Mixon following his arrest on misdemeanor assault charges in college (he punched a woman and broke her jaw), but the former Oklahoma Sooner eventually landed with the Bengals as a second-round pick in the 2017 Draft. A former five-star high-school recruit, Mixon has quickly emerged as Cincinnati’s backfield centerpiece, tallying 1,000-plus rushing yards in each of his last two seasons. The 24-year-old Bay Area native has visited the end-zone for 17 touchdown scampers during that span.
Cincy has yet to reach the playoffs with Mixon, though the Bengals are hoping the arrival of Heisman-winning QB Joe Burrow can make them competitive in the near future. The terms of Mixon’s four-year deal will certainly be of interest to Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook, who are both headed for free agency after this year. In lieu of lucrative extensions like the one Mixon just signed, fellow ball-carriers Aaron Jones, Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, James Conner and Marlon Mack will join Kamara and Cook on the open market in 2021.