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Bengals QB Joe Burrow becomes NFL’s highest-paid player with 5-year, $275M US deal: reports

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow became the NFL’s highest-paid player on Thursday, agreeing to a five-year, $275 million contract extension with USA, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The contract includes more than $219 million in guarantees, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was not disclosed.

The deal, which will pay Burrow an average of $55 million a year, puts him ahead of the league’s other top quarterbacks who signed new contracts this offseason.

Beloved by teammates and fans in Cincinnati, Burrow has turned the franchise’s fortunes around while building a reputation as a determined and creative leader who can figure out how to pick up yards when games break down.

An extension for the 2022 Pro Bowler and 2021 AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year was the team’s goal this summer, but a deal wasn’t finalized until three days before the Bengals’ season opener in Cleveland.

“This is where I want to be my whole career,” Burrow told reporters Wednesday. “You’ve seen what the front office has done and whatnot [coach] zack [Taylor] did here in their time. I am a small part of it. I’m excited to be a part of it. And we have great people in the locker room making noise every day who are excited to go and showcase their talents and excited to go and do it in the city of Cincinnati.”

Super Bowl port, franchise records

Burrow led the Bengals to two straight AFC North titles and a Super Bowl after the 2021 season, losing 23-20 to the Rams. Cincinnati finished 12-4 last year, and Burrow set franchise single-season records for completions, pass attempts and touchdowns.

Burrow had season-ending knee surgery in 2020, his rookie year. Upon his return, he immediately became one of the best passers in the NFL. The notoriously thrifty Bengals hadn’t reached a Super Bowl since 1998 or even a playoff win since 1990.

Burrow strained a calf muscle early in training camp this summer and was sidelined until last week. He said Wednesday that he will start Sunday against the Browns.

The quarterback market was created for Burrow in late July when Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert agreed to a five-year, $262.5 million extension.

Herbert’s total value and average of $52.5 million per season surpassed the five-year extension of $260 million ($52 million average) that Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson signed in April. Deshaun Watson has agreed to a fully guaranteed $230 million deal with Cleveland in 2022.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is in the third year of a 10-year contract worth $450 million, the largest overall deal for a quarterback.

Cincinnati picked up the fifth-year option on the 26-year-old Burrow’s rookie contract in April ahead of an expected big deal that didn’t materialize as quickly as both sides would have preferred.

Bengals owner Mike Brown said a year ago that the team had begun restructuring finances to secure a long-term deal for Burrow. The Bengals cleared more salary cap space when running back Joe Mixon accepted a restructured deal and a pay cut this month.

With Burrow locked out, the Bengals could turn their attention to other players, including wide receiver Tee Higgins, who is also eligible for an extension. Linebacker Logan Wilson agreed to a four-year extension last month worth up to $37.25 million.

Star receiver Ja’Marr Chase could be on an extension after this season. Higgins and Chase will both receive salaries that would put them among the league’s highest-paid receivers.

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