It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Joe Burrow to the Cincinnati Bengals. Without the new-age punky QB’s presence in Zac Taylor’s offense last season, Cincinnati does not reach the heights of Super Bowl LVI. Team president Mike Brown is very aware of Burrow’s impact. And for both parties, it hopefully means a long term commitment regardless of dollars.
As the team prepares to hit the practice field on Wednesday for the opening of training camp, Brown suggests locking up Burrow is priority No. 1. Meeting with the press on Monday, Brown said, “I can tell you that we couldn’t be happier with Joe Burrow. He’s everything you would wish for, especially for a quarterback in Cincinnati. Our whole focus is going to be on keeping him here.”
While it’s a main priority, Brown’s comments don’t necessarily reflect that anything is imminent on the front. Burrow – the first overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft – doesn’t reach free agency for three more years. His rookie deal lasts through 2024 with a supreme likelihood the team picks up a fifth-year option.
However, it’s not unusual for teams to buy the last years of a contract to ensure a healthy relationship and tinker with guaranteed money. Patrick Mahomes signed his historic contract extension with the Chiefs in year three. The guaranteed money at signing took care of roster bonuses and salary for 2020 until 2022. It’s certainly possible Burrow’s deal looks similar in structure.
And with the growing market for premiere quarterback play – exemplified with Kyler Murray’s monstrous extension last week – it’s possible Burrow’s numbers supersede Mahomes’. Kansas City owes an average of $45 million per year until 2032. Burrow could reach the $50 million marker.
Joe Burrow’s First Priority? Recovery.
The quarterback underwent an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday. With the Bengals opening training camp tomorrow, the surgery means Burrow misses crucial season preparation. However, resolving the issue now hopefully means a full and healthy regular season. Hope is that Burrow joins the team soon, but recovery from any surgery is dicey.