Bengals’ biggest offseason move made a dream come true

Bengals: Former QB compares Joe Burrow to Hall of Famer

Signing Orlando Brown Jr. to a massive four-year contract did more than protect the future of the Cincinnati Bengals, it reunited two star players after they had spent seven years apart.



It was 2016 when Brown and Joe Mixon last donned the same colors on a football field, back when they engines to a dominant Oklahoma offense. Brown’s decision to join the Bengals this year turned a vision into reality.



Bengals' biggest offseason move made a dream come true



“We dreamed about playing together since pretty much my second year in the league, which was his first,” Mixon said of joining forces with his former college lineman. “Now that we were able to make that happen is very exciting.” Early returns of Brown in Cincinnati have been promising.

He’s meshed incredibly well with offensive line coach Frank Pollack’s way of coaching, and has immersed himself within the community as well.



His $64 million price tag over the next four seasons will be well earned if he protects quarterback Joe Burrow as expected, but his impact will also be felt in the run game. Mixon is already getting deja vu in that regard.



Bengals' biggest offseason move made a dream come true



“You see him in practice when I take handoffs from Joey B, and all he talks about is CRIB! CRIB,” Mixon recounts from his first practices back with Brown. “Like it just takes me back to those old days and I feel like it’s definitely something to look forward to.”

Blocking for Mixon might be where Brown’s presence will be felt the most compared to last season. As the Bengals continue to evolve this half of the offense, their new left tackle looks to be a fit for the future.

Jonah Williams received his worst run blocking grade from Pro Football Focus (51.0) as the team shifted towards more gap scheme concepts.

Bengals' biggest offseason move made a dream come true

Comparatively, he graded out at 75.6 in 2021 when zone concepts were the primary focus. Brown has graded higher than 68 in run blocking for the last three seasons and ended up at 64.5 for gap scheme runs last year. He’ll be yelling “CRIB!” to Mixon many times this year.