Earlier this offseason, Joe Burrow had himself a scary moment that made Cincinnati Bengals fans everywhere hold their collective breath. During a training camp session, Burrow rolled out of the pocket, fell to the turf with a non-contact injury and was carted off the field. For someone who has already torn an ACL, it looked bad. Thankfully, it turned out to be a calf strain, and Burrow should be ready to go for the team’s season opener.
When Burrow takes the field, he’ll be doing so as the highest-paid player in the NFL.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Burrow and the Bengals have agreed to a five-year, $275 million deal that includes $219.1 million in guaranteed money. The average annual value of the deal of $55 million is an NFL record.
It’s been the summer of huge contract extensions for signal callers. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts both signed deals worth more than $250 million. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert signed an extension in July that paid him a then-record $52.5 million per year. He held that record for less than two months.
Burrow also surpasses Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who signed a record-setting deal a few years back. Considering the budding rivalry between the Bengals and Chiefs as two of the league’s top teams, it’s got to feel good for Burrow to get another W here.
As is the case with any huge contract, some people believe this is an overpay. But it’s not like the Bengals were setting the league on fire before Burrow’s arrival; the team hadn’t won a playoff game since 1990. In Burrow’s first two fully healthy seasons, the team reached the Super Bowl and AFC Championship Game, compiling a 5-2 playoff record.
Victories aren’t a quarterback-only stat, but Burrow has won as many playoff games in two years as the Bengals had in their entire franchise history from 1968 to 2020. And there are surely more deep runs on the way.
Burrow has turned the Bengals into perennial contenders. That’s something no one has done before — and is worth a lucrative investment.