NFL: NOV 06 Panthers at Bengals

The Bengals have been lockstep with star quarterback Joe Burrow regarding negotiations for a long-term contract. That wasn't the case with Burrow's backfield mate, running back Joe Mixon, for most of the offseason, but Mixon and the team agreed to a restructure of his four-year, $48 million contract that he signed back in 2020 on Friday evening, according to NFL Media.

The soon-to-be 27-year-old was set to make $10.1 million with a $12.8 million cap hit in the upcoming season, but now that figure is set to decrease for a Bengals team trying to come to terms on contract extensions for not only Burrow but additionally his top two wideouts, Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins

Mixon's agent revealed in a statement that the running back opted to prioritize chasing a Super Bowl in Cincinnati instead of pursuing his money on the open market. The Bengals would have saved $10 million in cap space by releasing him.

"Joe just agreed to a restructuring of his deal," Peter Schaffer, Mixon's agent, said, via NFL Media. "His goal is to win a Super Bowl and play his career in Cincinnati and this is the best way to accomplish these goals."  

Prior to this restructure, Mixon may have been in jeopardy of being released, something team executive vice president Katie Blackburn told reporters back in March in the wake of a couple of off-field incidents this offseason. 

His once-murky future with the team, however, ultimately seemed tied to his price tag, not his behavior. Mixon was not charged in a shooting that allegedly occurred at his home earlier in March, and he pled not guilty to a charge of aggravated menacing from an alleged separate gun-related incident in January. Blackburn said at the NFL owners meetings in March that she hadn't recently spoken to Mixon about either incident.

"I don't want to get into how that might end up, so I don't know that it's fair to say anything," she said in March. "But I think it will get resolved, hopefully fairly soon. He's done a lot of great things for the team. I think he's still got a lot of great production in him, so I hope his other issues all get resolved in a positive way."

Now, the Bengals keep the band together on offense for another run at the Vince Lombardi Trophy after consecutive seasons reaching the AFC Championship Game. Both of their last two playoff defeats have come by 23-20 scores: one came in the 2022 AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the other against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI to conclude the 2021 season.