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Joe Mixon’s contract extension sets up Cincinnati Bengals for offensive explosion

Matt Johnson
Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals took the first step to revitalizing their offense this offseason by drafting Joe Burrow. With star running back Joe Mixon’s new contract extension, this offense is set to explode in the 2020 NFL season.

Mixon, who was sidelined in training camp by migraines with less than two weeks before the season opener, cashed in on Tuesday with a huge four-year contract extension.

Bengals sign Joe Mixon to four-year contract extension

A second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mixon has been productive in his first three seasons. Across 35 games, he has compiled 2,931 rushing yards, 870 receiving yards and 21 total touchdowns. However, his potential has often been capped by Cincinnati’s offense.

However, the Bengals recognize that he is an extraordinary talent. As a result, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Mixon is landing a four-year extension worth $48 million. The new deal will carry significant money up front and keep him under contract for five seasons.

While specifics of the contract haven’t been disclosed, $48 million over four seasons would make Mixon the sixth-highest paid running back in the NFL. The deal comes just under the massive four-year contract Derrick Henry signed in July.

Mixon hasn’t been named an NFL All-Pro or even voted into the Pro Bowl in his first three years. However, that’s likely about to change in an offense that will surprise a lot of people this season.

Joe Burrow will elevate Bengals’ offense

  • Burrow proved his absurd talents this past season at LSU, throwing for 5,671 passing yards with an absurd 60-6 TD-INT ratio and he completed 76.4% of his passes. While the transition to the NFL is never easy, the 23-year-old is poised for a strong rookie season.
  • Cincinnati’s defense will struggle this year, giving Burrow plenty of chances to throw the football. With an improved offensive line and his tremendous skills, he could easily break NFL rookie records in 2020.
  • Of course, it’s about more than just Burrow’s talent. He landed in an ideal spot with a cast of weapons that will make him feel at home.

Cincinnati’s receiving corps will be one of NFL’s best

  • It all starts with A.J. Green, who will play out the 2020 season on the franchise tag who missed the entire 2019 season following ankle surgery. He is a phenomenal receiver, capable of 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown seasons with pedestrian quarterback play. Now, he’ll be playing with a gunslinger.
  • With Green sidelined last year, Tyler Boyd still found a way to produce despite facing No. 1 cornerbacks on a weekly basis. He recorded his second consecutive 1,000-yard season and should be more effective in 2020 thanks to better matchups against lesser defenders.
  • John Ross III hasn’t lived up to his status as the No. 8 overall pick, but he is a big-play threat. Ross averaged 18.1 yards per catch this past year and should be a target on deep shots from Burrow.
  • Rounding out the receiving corps, second-round pick Tee Higgins. The rookie can be a weapon in the red zone and should thrive as Cincinnati’s No. 4 receiver, especially learning from Green and Boyd.

Joe Mixon’s stats will explode in monster season

A great passing attack can be critical to things opening up for the running game. Opposing defenses will be forced to respect Cincinnati’s passing attack this season, which will create all kinds of opportunities for Mixon.

  • After getting over an ankle injury, Mixon ran for 538 rushing yards and four touchdowns in December. He averaged 4.7 yards per attempt. Keep in mind, he did all of that despite playing behind an atrocious offensive line and with a third-string quarterback under center.
  • One of Mixon’s best games of the season came on Dec. 15, when he rushed for 136 yards against the New England Patriots. After the game, Bill Belichick called Mixon the best running back in the NFL.
  • The 24-year-old running back is also a dangerous all-purpose weapon. He averaged 8.2 yards per catch in 2019, but drew limited targets. If he gets 50-plus catches this season – Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 55 in 2019 with Joe Burrow at LSU – Mixon could eclipse 500 receiving yards.

All told, we’re expecting big things from Mixon this season. He is capable of hitting 2,000 scrimmage yards if he stays healthy and is a featured piece of Cincinnati’s offense. Combine that with this passing game and you’ve got an offense that will be exciting to watch this NFL season.