The Cincinnati Bengals need to make extending quarterback Joe Burrow their top priority in the coming years.

Burrow will be eligible for an extension after the 2022 season.

FanSided’s Matt Verderame recently spoke to multiple agents/former general managers to get an idea of what kind of contract extension Burrow could demand.

Two agents told Verderame they’d ask for $55 million a year and one agent suggested $57.5 million a year.

One agent specifically said he’d ask for a fully guaranteed five-year deal worth $275 million (that agent noted that he expects the salary cap to be raised significantly in the next couple of years).

Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass in the first quarter of Super Bowl 56 between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. The Rams came back in the final minutes of the game to win 23-20 on their home field.
Super Bowl 56 Cincinnati Bengals Vs La Rams

I have no doubt that Cincinnati will agree that Burrow is worth $55 million a year. But paying him that much cash could be an issue — specifically, the fully guaranteed contract could be a problem.

It seems very likely that Burrow will want a fully guaranteed contract after seeing quarterback Deshaun Watson get one from the Cleveland Browns this offseason.

The only problem is that a fully guaranteed $275 million contract would mean the Bengals would have to put $275 million in escrow upfront. Cincinnati, of course, is one of the most cash-strapped teams in the NFL (Cincy owner Mike Brown ranks No. 30 in net worth among NFL owners, ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders/Mark Davis and the Green Bay Packers, a team that is owned by shareholders).

$275 million in escrow might be doable, but what about other guaranteed money for players? Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will soon be looking to break the bank and get as much guaranteed money as possible. If the Bengals give Burrow $275 million it might mean that Chase ends up getting traded (like the Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and AJ Brown situations we saw earlier this offseason).

It’s going to be a tough situation for the Bengals. And they need to start figuring it out now because an extension for Burrow is quickly coming.

(By the way, if you think this escrow talk is a bunch of nonsense, we’ve seen this play out before. The Raiders traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears in 2018 in part because owner Mark Davis didn’t have the cash to put in escrow for Mack’s contract.)

Logic says the Bengals will find a way to make this work. But I think it’s something that should be a concern for Cincinnati fans. The Bengals historically don’t give out huge sums of guaranteed money. Burrow knows his worth. He won’t be unreasonable, but he’s not going to give the Bengals a mega discount, either. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out after the 2022 season.

Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK