Before the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals were by running back Joe Mixon, who's entering the final year of his rookie contract and has openly campaigned for a new deal. After in the draft, however, they're publicly motivated to work toward a long-term extension for Mixon, with personnel executive Duke Tobin recently telling Lance McAlister of Cincinnati's 700 WLW the Bengals have talked with the RB about a new contract.
"Joe's obviously a guy that's shown a lot of ability," Tobin said, per ProFootballTalk. "He's in a year that he can be extended, and he is a guy that we visited with. We'll go through those discussions and see if there is a fit or a match for a long-term contract with him, obviously a guy we value quite a bit. The great thing about Joe is he goes about it the right way ... He's the type of guy you want to lock up to a long-term deal. We'll see if we can find the commonality to get that done over time here."
Tobin, the Bengals' director of player personnel, obviously left the door open for anything. Previous reports have indicated Cincinnati will look to replace Mixon, a 2017 second-round pick, in the event he's seeking a salary comparable to the record-breaking annual average ($16 million) of the Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey. But it's also clear the Bengals would prefer to keep the 23-year-old ball-carrier around, especially after passing on RBs in the 2020 draft.
Mixon posted his second straight 1,100-yard rushing season in 2019, while adding at least eight total touchdowns for the second straight year. Limited to seven starts as a rookie, he's been one of the few steady standouts on Cincy's offense since 2018. This season, the former Oklahoma star is due just $1.7 million on the last year of his four-year contract.