Bengals Put Joe Burrow Atop The NFL Quarterback Contracts List In Record Year For Mega Deals

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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow could easily turn to baking if he wanted. Because he’s about to have a lot of dough as the NFL’s highest paid player.

The Bengals and Burrow have agreed to a five-year extension worth $275 million that makes the quarterback the league’s highest-paid player on an annual average basis, OutKick has confirmed.

ESPN was first to report the deal that includes $219 million guaranteed.

The deal resets the quarterback market that understandably features the game’s highest paid players.

Joe Burrow helped the Bengals get into the AFC Title game in back to back years.
Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Paycor Stadium on September 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

And that was expected because this has so far been the year for changing that market.

Joe Burrow Replaces Herbert Atop QB Scale

Jalen Hurts became the league’s highest-paid player when he signed a five-year extension worth $255 million in April. Lamar Jackson topped that 10 days later when he agreed to a five-year deal worth $260 million. And Justin Herbert trumped both deals when he signed an extension worth $265 million in late July.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow replaces Justin Herbert as NFL's highest paid player
Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the game in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at TIAA Bank Field on January 14, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)

Burrow’s deal averages $55 million per season to lead the pack.

None of the quarterbacks who got new deals this year have won a Super Bowl. Only Hurts and Burrow have helped their team get into that championship game.

Burrow has helped the Bengals reach the AFC championship game the past two seasons.

But there is no doubt in Cincinnati that Burrow is a keeper and could someday author the Bengals first Super Bowl winning season.


Bengals Believe In Joe Burrow

Burrow last season tied for second in the NFL with 35 touchdown passes and ranked fifth with 4,475 passing yards. He has 11,774 passing yards since entering the league in 2020 and became the first player ever to record at least 400 passing yards in five games within his first three seasons.

Burrow’s performance and the timing of this deal have earned him the distinction of being the highest-paid player. And he might hold that mark for a while.

The only way Burrow gets knocked off his perch soon is if the Chiefs redo the Patrick Mahomes contract that runs through 2032 and pays a relative bargain of $45 million per year. Same with the Buffalo Bills and quarterback Josh Allen, whose deal runs through 2029 and averages $43 million per season.

Barring those magnanimous adjustments by the Chiefs or Bills, the next quarterback contracts that may challenge the top of the pay scale could belong to Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville, Tua Tagovailoa in Miami, Dak Prescott in Dallas, or Jordan Love in Green Bay.

Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence among candidates to replace Bengals' Joe Burrow atop QB pay scale.
Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars calls a play against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of a preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 12, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Next QBs To Get Huge Pay Day

All four are free agents in 2025 and figure to want an extension before the start of next season. But that desire will require each stays healthy and plays at a very high level this season, which obviously has yet to be seen.

It also remains to be seen what effect this Burrow deal has on the rest of Bengals salary structure.

Burrow had previously said he wanted to sign an extension that made sense for himself as well as the future of the team. He said he understood his success is tied to the success of the players around him.

And those other players want to get paid, too.

“You got to have good players,” Burrow has said. “It’s doesn’t matter how good your quarterback is, if you don’t have good players around him, you’re not going to be a good team.”

The extent to which Burrow’s new deal will affect Cincy’s chances of surrounding him with outstanding, proven players cannot be known until the contract is signed, its details are available, and the market for other positions are set next offseason.

Bengals president (and owner) Mike Brown said during an event weeks ago that he doesn’t envision everyone on this Bengals roster getting that next contract.

Bengals in future won't be able to keep everyone following signing of Joe Burrow contract.
Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals walk across the field during training camp at Kettering Health Practice Fields on July 26, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Burrow Deal Means Bengals Can’t Keep Everyone

“We have some good players that need to be fed,” Brown said. “That’s a challenge. It’s mathematical. You get a bag of corn and you have 10 hogs. Well, you’re going to put that out to them. The bag’s going to be empty. And some of them aren’t going to get it.”

Tee Higgins, a 1,000-yard receiver each of the past two seasons, is a free agent after this season. Right tackle Jonah Williams, the team’s fourth-highest paid player, is a free agent after this season. D.J. Reader, a leader on the team’s defense, is a free agent after this season. Slot receiver Tyler Boyd is a free agent after this season.

And, perhaps most importantly, receiver Ja’Marr Chase is signed through 2024 but is eligible for a contract extension next year. Chase is Burrow’s favorite receiver.

The Bengals will try to keep the Burrow-to-Chase combination intact. That will almost definitely mean the club loses Higgins or Boyd or both. And Williams is all but gone after this season via free agency.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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