Quarterback Joe Burrow has been dealing with a calf injury these past few weeks but he's pushing to play in the season opener. Whether Burrow plays against the Cleveland Brown in Week 1 or not, he can rest assured he's the highest-paid player in the NFL.
Just one day after San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa secured a contract that pays him more than $30 million per year, the Bengals and Burrow agreed to a five-year deal worth $275 million. that's an annual average of $55 million per year. Although the details haven't come to light, it's likely that he got a massive signing bonus and the heavier cap hits will be in the later years of the deal, to give Cincinnati as much flexibility as possible.
This past July, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Just Herbert signed a contract that paid him an annual salary of $52.5 million. With Herbert and Burrow securing long-term deals, Lawrence is next in line.
During the offseason, former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman hypothesized that Lawrence could earn a salary of $55 million per year when he becomes eligible. Looking back, the projection seems somewhat conservative in light of Burrow's contract.
Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, missed a good chunk of his rookie campaign with an ACL injury. However, he was a full-go in 2021 and managed to take Cincy to the Super Bowl. Although the Bengals ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Rams, Burrow proved he could take the team on his shoulders.
The Jaguars should follow the Bengals steps and pay Trevor Lawrence ASAP
Joe Burrow's extension doesn't come as a surprise. He's one of the top quarterbacks in the league and given that the demand at the position outweighs the supply, giving him a top-market contract is a no-brainer.
Franchise quarterbacks don't grow on trees, and having one maximizes your chances of winning games. That's precisely why the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a significant investment in Trevor Lawrence, the top overall selection in the 2021 draft.
After failing to put him in a position to succeed in 2021, the Jags surrounded Lawrence with the best possible supporting cast and paired him with a coach who actually knew what he was doing in Doug Pederson. The changes paid off big time and the former Clemson Tiger rewarded Jacksonville with a huge improvement in his sophomore campaign.
Heading into Year 3, Lawrence is expected to make another leap and if he does, the Jaguars will have a realistic shot at making a deep playoff run. You could argue that Lawrence has only been in the league two years and his rookie season was nothing to write home about. However, 2021 seems like an outlier in hindsight, and last season should provide a more accurate picture of what's next to come in Jacksonville.
The Bengals knew the faster they locked up Burrow, the better they would be in the long run. Having checked off a box, they can now focus on the 2023 season. While Trevor Lawrence won't be eligible for an extension next year, the Jaguars should follow Cincy's blueprint and sign him as soon as possible. After all, the longer they wait, the more they'll probably have to pay.