Everyone knows that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is going to receive an extension this offseason.
The popular questions about the looming extension are “when” and “how much”.
Perhaps a more important question would be about the structure of Burrow’s extension. That’s what will determine how easy it’ll be to extend wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. It will also determine how much flexibility the Bengals will have for future moves.
A popular suggestion for Burrow (it might even be likely) is that he sign a Patrick Mahomes-like extension (10ish years) that would give Cincinnati much-desired salary cap flexibility.
The only problem is that if Burrow signs that kind of extension, it will likely result in the star quarterback quickly becoming “underpaid” as quarterbacks in coming years sign more lucrative extensions (that’s how it always goes).
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio recently offered a creative solution to this potential stumbling block in the Burrow negotiations.
Florio thinks the Bengals should sign Burrow to an extension that has the former LSU standout’s salary tied to a certain percentage of the NFL salary cap. That would allow Burrow to receive modest raises each year as the salary cap climbs while ensuring that his cap hit is never more than 17 or 18 percent (or whatever figure the team and Burrow’s camp settle on).
From Pro Football Talk: Burrow would (or should) “want in the contract” protection against that. The logic is simple. If you want me to commit to this team for the next decade or longer, I need to know my pay will always be comparable to my peers.
One way to do that would be to tie his compensation in future years to the exclusive level of the franchise tag. A better way to do that would be to tie his compensation to the cap.
Burrow knows that the Bengals need money and cap space for other players. What’s more fair than having the Bengals know the specific cents on the dollar that will be devoted to Burrow, and in turn the specific cents on the dollar they will have for anyone/everyone else?
So if Burrow has an annual floor of 16 percent of the cap (the final number probably would have nearly as many decimal points as pi) in the out years of the deal, the Bengals would have between 83 and 84 percent remaining for the rest of the team. Or maybe Burrow’s number would start at 17 percent, point something something something. Or 18. That would be determined in the final stages of the negotiations.
Florio noted that a few players in the past, including quarterback Kirk Cousins, have tried to land this type of contract (which is allowed by the CBA) to no avail. Maybe the Bengals and Burrow could be the first to make it happen.
It would certainly make like easier on Cincinnati moving forward as they’d always know how much Burrow would count against the salary cap. And it would give Burrow some protection seeing quarterback contracts rise without reaping the benefits.
Burrow’s extension should happen at some point this summer.
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