Bengals' Joe Mixon says 'bigger picture' led to him reworking contract

CINCINNATI -- Bengals running back Joe Mixon said he agreed to take a pay cut ahead of the upcoming season because he felt a "sacrifice" was needed to help the team's Super Bowl run.

In July, Mixon and the Bengals agreed to restructure the four-year contract extension he signed in 2020. According to Roster Management System, his new cash value of $5.8 million is nearly a $3 million decrease from his cash value in 2022.

Mixon, in his first comments of training camp, said "the bigger picture" led to him agreeing to the reworked deal.

"I see the task at hand and what we're trying to build and in order to keep other players here and pieces here, sometimes you have to sacrifice," Mixon told the team's website in an article published Wednesday. "I felt like this year was the year to sacrifice on the Super Bowl team we can potentially be."

Throughout the offseason, Bengals officials wavered on Mixon's roster status for 2023, given his salary cap hit. The contract restructure saved the Bengals $4.3 million against the cap this year.

Mixon has made few public comments since the end of the 2022 season. He has also been involved in two gun-related incidents since then.

In March, a teenager was shot in the foot from Mixon's backyard while he was playing with a toy gun at around 8:30 p.m. While Mixon was never a suspect and did not fire any shots, one man was indicted for felonious assault.

In April, Mixon was charged with misdemeanor aggravated menacing after he allegedly pointed a gun at a woman in a road-rage incident. He pleaded not guilty, and the trial is set for Aug. 14.

During offseason workouts, Mixon declined all interview requests until training camp. According to a team spokesperson, Mixon will not be made available to reporters until the start of the regular season, which goes against the NFL's media policy for 2023.

Mixon, a former second-round pick out of Oklahoma, remains an integral player for the Bengals, who have won back-to-back AFC North titles. While his rushing numbers dropped from his Pro Bowl season in 2021, he amassed 1,255 yards from scrimmage in 14 games in 2022.

Mixon's reworked contract includes $4.1 million in guaranteed money and $2 million in potential incentives that could be earned this year, according to Roster Management System.

"We agreed on a number with great compensation this year with the incentives," Mixon told the team's website. "Off my last deal, I feel like they allowed me to work to be able to make that money back."

Mixon's presence for another year with the Bengals has elicited rave reviews from those around the building, including quarterback Joe Burrow, as Cincinnati chases its first Super Bowl.

"I know that we're a better football team when Joe is here, so I was happy to see that," Burrow said last week of Mixon's new contract.