Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans should prepare to see QB Joe Burrow in Cincinnati for a long time. As has been expected for months, the Bengals are working on a long-term contract extension with Burrow to keep him the franchise’s starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Burrow confirmed as much Tuesday in speaking to reporters though he kept details light.
“I’m involved. That’s in the works,” Burrow told reporters via NFL.com’s Eric Edholm. “That’s not really something that I like to play out in the media. Just the way I think they want to do business, I want to do business, we prefer to keep that between us.”
Burrow has been the answer to many of the Bengals’ long-standing problems and since recovering from a torn ACL suffered his rookie season, Cincinnati has become a yearly contender. In 2021, the team went 10-7 and made it to the Super Bowl before falling to the Los Angeles Rams and went 12-4 last season, losing in the AFC Title game to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The driver for that success has been Burrow. The first overall pick of the 2020 draft has thrown 34 and 35 touchdown passes over the last two years and was an NFL MVP finalist this past season. Pittsburgh has been able to combat him well with Burrow throwing 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions, four of those coming in last year’s season opener that saw the Steelers upset the Bengals.
Still, Burrow is one of the best young quarterbacks in football and makes Cincinnati the rightful AFC North favorite in 2023. They’ve taken home the divisional crown each of the last two years, something the Bengals haven’t accomplished since 1981 and 1982.
And the Bengals are more than Burrow. They have one of the best wide receiver groups in football, led by Burrow’s LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase. The o-line has gotten better in recent years with the front office taking a big swing this offseason by signing former Chiefs’ left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Cincinnati’s defense is also criminally underrated and a solid unit top to bottom, though they carry questions at safety after losing Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell in free agency.
A long-term deal with Burrow is inevitable. The biggest question is exactly how much he gets paid and how the deal is structured to maximize the Bengals’ Super Bowl-worthy roster. Burrow says he’ll work to take a deal that allows Cincinnati to put the best group around him.
“Whenever you have guys on the team that need to be paid, that’s always on your mind,” he said. “You want that to be a focal point, so we’re working to make that happen.”
Chase is one of those players who will soon come due. For Burrow, he’ll still likely become the highest-paid quarterback in football on an average yearly value, topping what the $52 million average yearly value Lamar Jackson recently received from Baltimore. Expect Burrow to be in the $53-55 million range and claim that top spot. For now, at least, until Patrick Mahomes, the NFL’s Nick Saban, reworks his deal to get back into first place.