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Does Joe Mixon’s Contract Match His Value?

The running back is about to make his first Super Bowl appearance for the Cincinnati Bengals and is due for a salary bump in 2025.

Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon is enjoying the best season of his young NFL career. The 25-year-old just earned his first Pro Bowl selection and will make his first Super Bowl appearance next week. With five seasons under his belt, Mixon has finally found a coach and system to suit his style of play.

The shelf life for the typical running back is notoriously short, making organizations hesitant to pay them for their on-field production. Let’s take a look at the running backs around the league to determine if Mixon has an underpaying contract in the prime of his career.

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Joe Mixon Salary & Contract Details

All dollar figures via Spotrac.

Age: 25
Contract length: 4 years
Total value: $48,000,000
Average annual value(AAV): $12,000,000
2021 salary: $5,376,471
Free agency: 2025 (unrestricted free agent)

Where Does Joe Mixon’s Salary Rank Among NFL Running Backs?

Highest-Paid RBs in 2021 (Total Cash)

  1. Aaron Jones (GB): $14.2M
  2. Nick Chubb (CLE): $12.9M
  3. Derrick Henry (TEN): $10.5M
  4. Ezekiel Elliot (DAL): $9.6M
  5. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): $8.2M
  6. Najee Harris (PIT): $7.5M
  7. Travis Etienne (JAC): $7.4M
  8. Nyheim Hines (IND): $7M
  9. Melvin Gordon (DEN): $6.9M
  10. Christopher Carson (SEA): $5.7M
  11. Joe Mixon (CIN): $5.3M

Highest-Paid RBs by AAV

  1. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): $16M
  2. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): $15M
  3. Alvin Kamara (NO): $15M
  4. Dalvin Cook (MIN): $12.6M
  5. Derrick Henry (TEN): $12.5M
  6. Nick Chubb (CLE): $12.2M
  7. Joe Mixon (CIN): $12M
  8. Aaron Jones (GB): $12M
  9. Melvin Gordon (DEN): $8M
  10. Saquon Barkley (NYG): $7.7M

Joe Mixon 2021 Regular Season Stats & Accolades

Rushing Yards: 1205 (No. 3 in NFL)
Rushing Yards per Game: 75.3 (No. 5 in NFL)
Rushing TDs: 13 (No. 4 in NFL)

2021 Pro Bowl (The first Bengals running back since Rudi Johnson in 2004)
2021 1,000+ yard rusher

How Much Did Joe Mixon Make Per Carry This Season?
  • During the 2021 NFL season, he carried the football 292 times while making $5.3 million. In other words, Mixon made about $18,150 per carry.
  • In comparison, Aaron Jones, the highest-paid running back in 2021, had 171 carries and made $14.2M. That’s $82,558 per carry.
How Much Did Joe Mixon Make Per Rushing TD This Season?
  • Mixon was able to score 13 rushing touchdowns in the 2021 season. At his salary, Mixon made $407,692 per rushing score.
  • The Indianapolis Colts’ Jonathan Taylor led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 18. His $965,870 for the 2021 season earned him $53,659 in comparison.
  • Jones only scored four rushing touchdowns during the 2021 season after suffering an ACL injury late in the year. Nonetheless, the cash poured in with Jones earning $3.5M per rushing score.
How Much is Joe Mixon Being Underpaid?

Mixon has just hit his stride in his NFL career, which is an excellent thing for both him and the Bengals, after signing an extension to his rookie contract in 2020. His production in 2021 quietly made him one of the best running backs in the entire NFL, and with star power names at the position contributing less to their teams, it’s fair to say that Mixon is underpaid. At least for now.

Mixon’s extension runs through the 2024 season. At that time, he’ll be 27 years old. If he can continue playing at a Pro Bowl-caliber level, he could earn himself a giant bump in salary.