By Dianna Russini, Paul Dehner Jr. and Larry Holder
The Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow have agreed to a five-year, $275 million contract extension with $219.01 million guaranteed, league sources confirmed Thursday. ESPN first reported the news. Here’s what you need to know:
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What matters most in Burrow’s deal
Breaking down the dollars, percentages and guarantees will be important in judging the specific successes of this agreement. But don’t let structure cloud the big picture. The Bengals had to find a way to get this done. They had to plan ahead, make uncomfortable decisions and ultimately spend more money on one player than any team in the history of the NFL.
They just couldn’t screw it up. They couldn’t let it drag on through another year or more. Burrow said Wednesday he wants to play in Cincinnati his entire career. Paying him to do so assures this unprecedented run of success for the franchise should continue for the foreseeable future. This was the most important task in an offseason full of them and the Bengals finished the job. — Dehner
Where the Bengals went for it
The largest guarantee the Bengals had ever given in their history was the $31 million handed over to tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in March. The previous high was $30 million to Carson Palmer in 2005. There’s stepping out of your comfort zone and then there’s a reported $219 million out of your comfort zone. The Bengals have been consistently ripped in the past for failing to guarantee enough money to players and had never done it beyond the first year. As a franchise, it’s changed operationally in many ways (stadium naming rights, Ring of Honor, free agency spending, indoor facility). This contract becomes the latest. Burrow represents an exception rather than a new rule, most likely, but showing the willingness to do so in the right situation matters. It certainly could matter when negotiations start with Ja’Marr Chase next year. — Dehner
How Burrow stacks up
Burrow’s advanced metrics point to him being a top-10 quarterback heading into his fourth season. Anecdotally, he’s a top-five guy given his team’s trips to the Super Bowl and AFC Championship games the past two seasons. But let’s dive into some numbers for Burrow.
Expected Points Added per dropback (via TruMedia)
- 2022: 0.10 (ninth)
- 2021: 0.15 (sixth)
- 2022: 100.8 (seventh)
- 2021: 108.3 (second)
Here are some advanced metrics where Burrow showed growth despite a slight dip in the above stats:
- QBR: 58.7 — 2022 (career high)
- Pressure percentage on dropbacks: 26.6 — 2022 (career best)
- Time to throw average: 2.40 seconds — 2022 (fastest career average)
It will be fascinating to watch the development of Burrow, Hurts, Herbert and the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa as they’re building their resume to eventually be mentioned as one of the best quarterback draft classes. — Holder
Burrow emerged during his historic 2019 college football season where he won the Heisman Trophy and led LSU to an undefeated national championship season. Burrow, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, saw his rookie season cut short with a knee injury after 10 games. The quarterback quickly became one of the league’s brightest stars by guiding the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI during the 2021 season and the AFC Championship game last season.
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(Photo: Michael Owens / Getty Images)