Months after making Joe Burrow the No. 1 overall pick, the Cincinnati Bengals invested $48 million to keep Joe Mixon around through the 2024 season. However, the talented running back has not provided a great return on that investment due in large part to a foot injury that has sidelined him since Week 6.
Unfortunately for Bengals fans, Mixon’s injury situation just took a brutal turn.
Joe Mixon signed a lucrative contract extension in September
Although Joe Mixon has yet to make a Pro Bowl, he has become a solid starter for the Bengals. After becoming the 48th overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft, he flashed intriguing potential with 913 yards from scrimmage in his rookie season.
The former Oklahoma star took over as the full-time starter the following year and put up terrific numbers. Mixon showcased every-down ability by racking up 1,168 rushing yards, 296 receiving yards, and nine total touchdowns.
In 2019, the do-it-all tailback played all 16 games for the first time in his career. However, his yards-per-carry average plummeted from 4.9 to 4.1 running behind an injury-plagued offensive line.
Still, that did little to deter the Bengals from breaking the bank to keep their star running back in Cincinnati for years to come.
On the first day of September, Mixon signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension that included a $10 million signing bonus. His rookie deal carried a total value of just $5.4 million, so he certainly did well to score a massive raise.
Mixon has not played since Week 6
After landing a lucrative contract extension, Joe Mixon entered the season with a chance to show the Bengals made a wise decision.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder got held in check during Cincinnati’s first three games. Despite receiving 62 carries, Mixon totaled just 164 yards and zero touchdowns during that span.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, though, the fourth-year pro enjoyed a monster day at the office. Mixon ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns while also adding a TD reception in a 33-25 victory.
However, it’s been downhill ever since.
For the last month, Cincinnati has not had its starting running back available. The Bengals have gone 1-2 without Mixon in the lineup.
His injury situation just took a brutal turn
For a team in dire need of playmakers, the Bengals can’t afford to lose any more weapons. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, the Joe Mixon injury situation just took a brutal turn.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via Twitter that the team placed Mixon on injured reserve on Saturday. As a result, the highly-paid running back will miss at least three more games due to his right foot injury.
According to ESPN, there has been no confirmation about whether Mixon will return at all this season. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor refused to discuss the running back’s outlook after Friday’s practice, but obviously the team determined that Mixon isn’t close to returning based on his IR designation.
If there’s any silver lining to this situation, at least the Bengals don’t have a difficult slate of upcoming opponents.
On Sunday, Cincinnati will take on a Washington Football Team that has won just two games all year. Perhaps Burrow can make enough plays in the passing game to help the Bengals earn their third victory.
In Week 12, Cincinnati hosts a New York Giants team whose only wins have come against Washington and Philadelphia. Can the Bengals force Daniel Jones into making more bad decisions? Or will New York’s underrated defense stifle Burrow and Co.?
The Bengals will certainly miss Mixon against the Miami Dolphins, who may just win the AFC East for the first time in more than a decade. Expect Brian Flores to dial up the pressure against Taylor’s rookie quarterback.
Hopefully, for Cincinnati’s sake, Joe Mixon heals up over the next few weeks. If not, it will be difficult for the Bengals to win many more games without their $48 million running back on the field.