"I see the bigger picture. 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 recently told Geoff Hobson of the team's official website. "I felt like this year was the year to sacrifice on the Super Bowl team we can potentially be.
"That was my stance on it. We agreed on a number with great compensation this year with the incentives. Off my last deal, I feel like they allowed me to work to be able to make that money back. That's cool. I'll go work for it."
Mixon's restructured contract reduced his pay, lowering his cap number by about $4.3 million for 2023.
While the Bengals could surely use the cash to help make another deep playoff run, the reality is Mixon had little leverage. If he declined to take the pay cut, Cincy could have released him into a market where he would have likely made significantly less. It's the reality that all running backs are dealing with in the current climate.
Mixon noted the dire RB market and hopes things will turn back around in the coming years.
"Hopefully, with the union and players, we'll try to do whatever we can to uplift that market," he said.
Mixon is coming off a down season by his standards, rushing for 814 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games in 2022.