Joe Burrow wants to be a Bengals quarterback for his entire career. He’s about to get paid a lot more for doing it over the long term.
Cincinnati officials have every intention of giving him a contract extension sometime in the 2023 NFL offseason, ahead of the fifth-year option year that’s at the back of his rookie deal. As the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020, Burrow got $36.190 million all guaranteed over his first four years.
Going forward, Burrow will soon make much more than that in terms of average annual salary. Based on his early-career play, he deserves to paid at the top of the always most expensive QB market. That also would put him in position to become the league’s highest-paid player through at least one parameter.
Here’s breaking down what Burrow’s next contract might look like after considering all the key factors:
Who are the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks now?
When looking at average annual salary, there was a new QB leader in 2022 based on a restructured contract. Here’s the top six, who pertain most to Burrow:
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers $50.271 million
- Russell Wilson, Broncos $48.517 million
- Kyler Murray, Cardinals $46.1 million
- Deshaun Watson, Browns $46 million
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs $45 million
- Josh Allen, Bills $43 million
Next, here is a similar list of the top six quarterbacks with the most guaranteed money as part of their contracts:
- Deshaun Watson, Browns $230 million
- Kyler Murray, Cardinals $189.5 million
- Russell Wilson, Broncos $161 million
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers $150.815 million
- Josh Allen, Bills $150 million
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs $141.481 million
The last parameter, then to examine is total contract value:
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs $450 million (10 years)
- Josh Allen, Bills $258 million (6 years)
- Russell Wilson, Broncos $242.588 million (5 years)
- Kyler Murray, Cardinals $230.5 million (5 years)
- Deshaun Watson, Browns $230 million (5 years)
- Dak Prescott, Cowboys $160 million (4 years)
The two outliers above are Watson’s guaranteed money and Mahomes’ contract length. It will be difficult for Burrow to push toward the unique ceiling of Watson and it wouldn’t be thee best move for Burrow to lock in for a decade such as Mahomes did.
Rodgers saw his contract adjusted in 2022 to bump up his annual salary. Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in 2019 a year before Burrow, got his market-worthy extension last offseason. Wilson and Watson got their major boosts after the teams that traded a ton to get them made sure they got desired deals.
After taking out the numbers of the No. 1s on the above lists — Rodgers, Watson and Mahomes — that creates the agreeable sweet spot for Burrow’s contract.
Joe Burrow contract projection
While $500 million over 10 years with $250 million (half of it) guaranteed won’t happen for Burrow to blow everyone away, he should thrilled with his Bengals contract in the end.
First comes the length. Burrow will either get Allen’s six years or the more popular five years. Six years can work as the happy medium between Murray and Mahomes.
Based on his play vs. that of Allen, Burrow’s absolute floor is $44 million per season, which would give him a total of $264 million over six years. More realistic is getting to $47 million per season ahead of Murray. That would put Burrow at $282 million in total contract value, well ahead of Allen.
Then comes the guaranteed money. If Burrow would like more in relation to rest in that key parameter, then a five-year deal such as Watson’s or Murray’s becomes more appealing.
Then taking those annual numbers, the total value of the deal would adjust to $235 million over five years. There’s a case for Burrow then to get $200 million guaranteed as part of that, well clearing Murray. What Lamar Jackson gets in terms of guaranteed money ahead of Burrow this offseason in relation to Watson should also set a new tone for QBs going forward.
The Bengals should be ready to deliver the ideal provisions for Burrow, the point he has an overall contract that stacks up with the best QBs and players in the league. That also will set up the chance to extend him as the NFL’s highest-paid player for his third deal.