Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will be eligible for a contract extension this offseason for the first time in his NFL career.
And the expectation is that Cincinnati will waste no time in extending him.
But how that contract extension will look is unknown at this time.
ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler, however, reported on Tuesday that Burrow’s extension (as well as the extension for Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert) is expected to break records.
Fowler said the expectation is that Burrow’s deal will surpass Aaron Rodgers’ “league-high average” of $50.3 million.
Herbert and Burrow are now eligible for extensions after completing their third regular seasons. They are under contract through 2023 along with a fifth-year option for 2024, which both teams will inevitably pick up.
The expectation is both players sign new deals that surpass Rodgers’ league-high average of $50.3 million per year.
The Bengals and Chargers aren’t known for their spending, and in big-money deals like this, teams must set aside all of the guaranteed money in escrow, which complicates matters. But both teams have taken care of homegrown talent in the past, with several key players on each side under long-term deals. And Burrow and Herbert — largely considered top-tier passers — take out most of the guesswork often present with long and costly contracts.
“Largely durable, great guys, great players — they will be expensive but this is an easy decision,” an NFL GM said.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that this extension gets done — it has to get done. Burrow is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL right now and he’s the reason the Bengals are in back-to-back AFC Championship games. There’s no chance Cincinnati doesn’t work out a deal.
The concern is how it impacts the rest of the Bengals’ roster. Superstar wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will be eligible for an extension after the 2023 season. And that’s certainly a player Cincinnati wants to keep (especially because of his unique connection with Burrow, his former teammate at LSU).
I expect the Bengals to also lock down Chase next offseason. But that will likely mean that wide receiver Tee Higgins won’t be in Cincy long term (the same goes for safety Jessie Bates, though that has been assumed for the last year). It also means that the Bengals will have to draft exceptionally well moving forward because they’ll need players to perform at a high level while on rookie contracts to continue to have success.
That’s one of the reasons why winning this season or next season is such a big deal for the Bengals. These might be the best rosters that Burrow has as a Bengal — depending on how the draft goes in the coming years.
Featured image via Sam Greene / USA TODAY NETWORK