A lot of recent debate regarding the Cincinnati Bengals has centered on the franchise’s contractual stalemate with All-Pro safety Jessie Bates III. There are plenty who think he should be paid appropriately –like star quarterback Joe Burrow– and then there are those who prefer he not be paid what he’s worth.
And some believe he shouldn’t be paid, at all.
Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on, a big reason why the two sides failed to reach a deal is because of how the Bengals structure their contracts. They don’t like to give out guaranteed money past the first year of the deal, which is obviously not a player-friendly ideology when considering the extremely violent nature of the sport.
This could be a big issue in the very near future. Joe Burrow will be up for an extension after this season and if everything goes as expected in 2022, then it’s easy to see that he’ll be in line for a humongous payday.
And it’s even easier to see that after Kyler Murray received a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension on Thursday. The deal includes a whopping $160 million in guarantees, which has to give the Bengals’ front office decision-makers shivers down their spines.
Murray’s extension backs up Bengals’ decision to not give Bates a big deal
The Bengals took some heat from certain folks -even from their own players, to an extent- after they couldn’t reach a deal with Bates. While, there’s certainly an argument to be made that he deserves a long-term deal that pays what he’s worth, Murray’s extension shows exactly why the Bengals are being judicious when it comes to spending.
Murray is a good quarterback, but it can be debated that the Arizona Cardinals just overpaid their starting quarterback. While these two are different players, it’s fair to argue that Burrow is a better quarterback and there is one thing that is not up for debate: Burrow is more clutch and has already shown he can carry his team in the postseason, which is something that Murray has not shown, whatsoever.
So, if Murray is getting paid this much, one can only imagine how much Burrow will want.
And it’s also obvious Lamar Jackson is going to use Murray’s deal as leverage, and probably even a starting point amount-wise, in his own contract negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens.
Jackson is also likely to receive a bigger deal than Murray. Which then means Burrow’s hypothetical new deal will be even more than what it projects to be, now.
While it’s understandable to stand firm with a safety, NFL franchises can’t do with a quarterback. Especially one that is of Burrow’s stature.
We haven’t even mentioned Ja’Marr Chase’s potential extension in 2024, either.
So, the Bengals decided to play the waiting game and make sure they are in the most financially-sound position, possible, when it comes to future roster decisions. And based off what we have seen with Murray, that’s a pretty smart route to take.
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