Big contract news have been the story this week in the NFL. With Joe Mixon taking a pay cut to stay with the Cincinnati Bengals, the AFC North buzz this week features running backs as well as some interesting Baltimore Ravens rumors.
Let’s start with Mixon, who took a pay cut to remain with the Bengals in the 2023 NFL season. This contract restructure alone both symbolizes and defines the current state of the team as a Super Bowl contender.
AFC North News: Joe Mixon gambling on himself with re-worked Bengals deal
Who Dey Nation, give yourself a pat on the back because up until Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Mixon made the Bengals a team to be reckoned with, a star player taking a pay cut to remain with the team would’ve been impossible.
According to Pro Football Talk, Mixon and the Bengals agreed to a new deal that will have him making a base salary of just under $6 million. Unlike both Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott, who are currently free agents, Mixon’s restructured deal keeps him in a place where he could help the Bengals stay atop the AFC North and impact his team winning a Super Bowl.
In taking the pay cut, Mixon is also betting on himself for a bigger pay day in the future. In 2022, the 2017 second-round pick rushed for 814 yards and seven touchdowns.
AFC North Banter: Nick Chubb gets his all due respect
For AFC North opponents, Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb has been a force over the last few seasons and the rest of the NFL is finally giving him his respect.
In a recent poll conducted by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Chubb was voted as the best running back in the NFL. It would be hard for anyone do disagree as the No. 35 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has been outstanding.
With over 1,000 yards rushing in four of his first five seasons in the NFL, Chubb has put the NFL on notice with his ability to both rush the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield. At 5-foot-11, 227 pounds, Chubb is a load that has NFL executives marveling.
Here is what one executive had to say about the Browns running back per USA Today’s Brownswire:
"“I’ve always loved his game…He can carry the load, strong, has vision, great feet, not outstanding in the passing game but can do it. Just a damn good player. Not a make-you-miss guy but has power and instincts.”"
The next question is whether Chubb can carry the talented Browns to the top of the AFC North and into the playoffs. That my friends will really solidify him as the best running back in the NFL…hands down!
AFC North Rumors…speculation: Ravens to trade linebacker Patrick Queen?
With all these great running backs in the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens would be crazy to trade one of their best defenders, right?
Well, unless they already have a replacement.
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Here is where that saying in the NFL is prominent. It’s a business and heading into a contract year, the Ravens may seek a trade for linebacker Patrick Queen. In an article titled “8 Bold Predictions for the 2023 NFL Training Camp”, Bleacher Report writer Maurice Moton discusses the possibility of a trade to the Las Vegas Raiders in a bold prediction.
"“Going into training camp, the Ravens have the present and future at linebacker in [Roquan] Smith and [Trenton] Simpson, respectively. Meanwhile, Queen will prepare for a contract year with a chance to cash in on a strong campaign as a free agent in 2024.Simpson may look the part of a starter right away, which may result in Queen’s early departure from Baltimore. If the Ravens make the latter available on the trade block, the Las Vegas Raiders could make a move to bolster their limited linebacker unit.”"
While the Raiders could be a viable trade partner based on needs, several other NFL teams could use a player like Patrick Queen. But, if the Ravens do seek a deal, they would want him out of the AFC North. Here is a rumor, prediction or whatever you want to call it to watch during training camp.