The $219 million in guarantees is second behind only Deshaun Watson and Burrow’s $55 million average annual salary makes him the highest-paid player in league history, according to the report.
Speculation around the 26-year-old’s impending contract swirled all offseason after other top quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert all signed then-record deals. A calf strain during training camp further cast doubt on Burrow’s Week 1 availability and complicated contractual matters a bit more.
Burrow’s rise from No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020 to a top-five quarterback took just two seasons after he tore his left ACL and missed the final six games of his rookie season. Burrow led the Bengals to the Super Bowl in the 2021 season with an NFL-leading 70.4% completion rate after he threw for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also won NFL Comeback Player of the Year that season.
While the Bengals didn’t go back to the Super Bowl this past season, Burrow finished second in completion percentage and passing touchdowns as Cincinnati lost to the Kansas City Chiefs by a field goal in the AFC title game. He threw for 4,475 yards, 35 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 68.3% competition rate.
All along, Burrow has been adamant about signing a deal that would allow the Bengals to keep key contributors like wideouts Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Chase has two years left on his rookie deal plus a fifth-year option, while Higgins will be a free agent this offseason. Cincinnati will also need to figure out what to do with running back Joe Mixon, who took a pay cut to return to the team this season, as well as 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams and veteran receiver Tyler Boyd.
Burrow needed to be the first domino to fall in the Bengals’ contractual plans. Now, Cincinnati will focus on getting back to the Super Bowl with its franchise quarterback locked in for the foreseeable future.