Joe Burrow’s Bengals extension: 3 things to watch for

Joe Burrow's Bengals extension: 3 things to watch for

Here are 3 important things related to a Joe Burrow extension.

DJ Reader, a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, was sitting at his locker with red eyes and thinking about how his season ended with a dramatic loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game almost two weeks ago. He said something that is always true in the NFL.

Reader said right after the 23-20 loss, “This team will never be the same again.”

The Bengals team from 2022 was one of the best in the team’s history. It won 10 games in a row, which was a franchise record. It also tied the record for the most wins by a Cincinnati team in a single season (12).

Throughout the year, the team’s success has been linked in part to how well they get along. That wasn’t the first thing on Bengals coach Zac Taylor’s mind the day after Cincinnati was eliminated from the playoffs, but he did mention it as the team heads into a crucial offseason.

Adding new names to the list

In 2022, Cincinnati’s plan for the draft was clear. The Bengals picked safety Dax Hill, cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, and defensive tackle Zach Carter in the first, second, and third rounds, respectively, to get younger, cheaper players who could become starters in the future.

With the way the team is set up now, veteran cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton, whose contracts end after this season, and Hill and Taylor-Britt could be the new leaders of the defense in 2023.

The Bengals are likely to take the same approach in 2023. The Cincinnati Bengals are likely to pick Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer with the 28th overall pick.

Mayer, who played football at Covington Catholic High School, which is about three miles from Paycor Stadium, could replace Hurst as a tight end who can catch passes.

When Duke Tobin, the Bengals’ director of player personnel, talks at the NFL scouting combine, it could give clues about what the team will do in the draft.

No matter what happens in the draft, the Bengals’ chances of getting back to the AFC Championship Game and competing for a Super Bowl again will be improved.

Taylor said, “Now comes the next part of the NFL, where you start to transition into free agency, and we’ll see how it goes for a lot of guys.”

So, what does Cincinnati do next? Here are three things to keep an eye on during the offseason as the Bengals try to keep up their success from the past few years:

Joe Burrow Extension: Getting things done

Everything about this team starts with Joe Burrow, who is the quarterback. In his first three full seasons, the Bengals won the AFC North, came within two minutes of winning the Super Bowl, and almost went back after losing to Kansas City.

What happens with Burrow will affect the rest of the offseason more than anything else. He and the other rookies who were drafted in 2020 can get their contracts extended. And the timer has started ticking on his deal.

Taylor said on January 30 about talks about Burrow’s extension, “I think that starts now within the company.”

History shows that the Bengals know how important it is to sign a pricey quarterback as soon as possible. When the Bengals gave Carson Palmer his big extension in 2005, he still had a few years left on his rookie contract. This let the team spread out the cost against the salary cap over a few years.

The collective bargaining agreement lets teams spread out a signing bonus over up to five years. In other words, a player can get a $50 million bonus all at once, but it will only count as $10 million against the salary cap each year.

Or, Cincinnati could make a deal like the one Kansas City gave quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes’ $141 million in guaranteed money comes in the form of annual roster bonuses that are due near the start of the league year.

Once the Bengals figure out how much they will pay Burrow and, more importantly, how that deal will be set up, they will have a better idea of what Logan Wilson and Tee Higgins will be able to get.

In 2024, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who has played with Burrow since they were both at LSU, will be up for an extension. Chase is one of the most dynamic players in the league.

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Joe Burrow Extension: Making salary cap decisions

Cincinnati has pushed back on the idea that a championship window can be built around an elite quarterback on a rookie contract, which is a huge discount for a franchise.

But the reality is that once Burrow’s new contract starts to take a big chunk of the salary cap, the Bengals will no longer have the financial freedom they once had.

The Bengals can spend up to $33.6 million on salaries in 2023. But that number is only based on 46 players. Several important players from last year’s team, including tight end Hayden Hurst, running back Samaje Perine, cornerback Eli Apple, safety Vonn Bell, and linebacker Germaine Pratt, no longer have contracts with the team.

Cincinnati will need to find replacements for a few starters and add players to give the team more depth. Also, the Bengals have always set aside money in their budget in case of an emergency during the regular season.

Some of the problems caused by the salary cap have already come up. Since he was drafted in 2018, Jessie Bates has started at safety. However, Cincinnati did not give him a new contract before 2021 or 2022. Instead, they gave him the one-year franchise tag.

Tyler Boyd, a wide receiver for the Bengals, is fully aware of what his contract means for his future with the team. Boyd’s contract, which he signed in 2019, is coming to an end. If the Bengals let him go, they will save $8.9 million against their salary cap.

Boyd told the press that he doesn’t know what will happen in the next few months.

Boyd said after the loss to Kansas City, “We’ll see what they want to do with me, but I know I’m still entitled for a year.” “I’m not giving up hope that I won’t be here. You can’t tell.”

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