With the Cincinnati Bengals (and the rest of the NFL) away for Summer break, don’t expect any big contract extensions prior to the team reporting to training camp in late July.
More specifically, don’t expect any Bengals players to sign a new deal before the franchise quarterback does so.
Joe Burrow is indeed priority No. 1 for Cincinnati’s front office, as he has been since being selected first overall three years ago. His extension is set to be the largest in NFL history. Paying that amount of cash will not only keep Burrow in the Queen City for years to come, it will allow ownership to take care of other important business soon afterwards.
Extending Burrow is not the only task remaining for the Bengals before the offseason concludes. Fellow 2020 NFL Draft picks Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson are also players the team is intended on keeping around for the future.
There’s also the matter of finalizing a plan with Joe Mixon’s current contract. All of these secondary plans will be easier to sort through once the financials of Burrow’s deal is confirmed.
But how quick will they get done? The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. predicts it will all occur within one week. “My bold prediction: Once Burrow signs his contract, Higgins’ extension, Wilson’s extension and a Mixon restructure will all pop off within a week.” – The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.
The brevity of it all makes this bold, but there’s reason enough to believe it possible. In all likelihood, the Bengals have at least had preliminary talks with Higgins and Wilson’s respective reps.
Also, formulating contract outlines that are in their markets. But if they need more wiggle room to get the Burrow deal done, they have to prioritize that first.
Should Burrow’s extension land within their projections, finalizing deals for Higgins and Wilson will become much easier. It will still take quite a bit of cash, and salary cap room, which is how Mixon can help out. Mixon is due about $10 million in cash this year and will count for nearly $13 million in cap space.
A pay cut could reduce both those numbers significantly, while a restructure could pay him a similar amount of cash with a reduced cap hit this season.
Cincinnati could also trade away right tackle Jonah Williams, or cut another right tackle in La’el Collins depending on how that position battle shakes up in August to save additional space. The Bengals have been making these plans for a while now, so it won’t be a big surprise if all these dominoes fall so quickly