Joe Mixon is under contract.
The Cincinnati Bengals announced Friday that they have signed the No. 48 overall selection. Based on his draft slot, Mixon’s deal will be worth nearly $5.5 million over four years, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
The Bengals drafted the talented but controversial running back in the second round despite questions about his character after he punched a woman in 2014 while at the University of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma suspended Mixon for a season after he punched and knocked out Amelia Molitor, a fellow Oklahoma student, after a brief confrontation at a Norman, Oklahoma, restaurant. Molitor suffered fractured bones in her face, per the Associated Press. Video of the incident wasn’t made public until after a judge ordered the release of security videos in December 2016. Mixon completed one year of probation, 100 hours of community service and behavioral counseling as part of a plea agreement to a misdemeanor assault charge, according to court records.
The Bengals are giving the 20-year-old a chance to move past the incident.
At 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, Mixon is a dual-threat tailback with burst at the line of scrimmage and elusiveness at the second level and is a weapon in the passing game. The versatile player will have a chance to wrangle the starting gig as a rookie.
“From what I saw in college and one of the big reasons we brought him in is because he can do both [run and catch],” quarterback Andy Dalton said of Mixon earlier this month, via the team’s official website. “One of the things that helps with a guy that is versatile is you’re not tipping anything — you could be running the ball and you could be throwing it.”
Expect Mixon to get a sizeable workload as a rookie, cutting into the touches of both Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in what should be a much-improved Bengals offense in 2017.