Cincinnati Bengals Owner Mike Brown Says He Has a Pact With Joe Burrow, But No Extension Yet

The Cincinnati Bengals still haven't signed Joe Burrow to an extension, and they have no interest in talking about what is holding it up.

The Cincinnati Bengals and quarterback Joe Burrow don’t have a deal yet for a contract extension, but they do have a pact. And because of that, the team’s annual pre-camp luncheon Monday at Paycor Stadium resulted in no updates on the progress of the negotiations or any details that might be responsible for the delay.

“I have bound myself not to talk about Joe’s contract. I don’t think it’s helpful for negotiations,” Bengals owner Mike Brown said in response to a question about how the escrow situation related to guaranteed money might be slowing the progress toward an extension that is expected to make Burrow the highest-paid player in the league in terms of average annual salary.

“The other side has made the same commitment, and they have not broken it. That (question) comes close. I could answer that, and they might think that is talking about the negotiation. So I’m going to back off.”

Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow Still Working on Contract Extension

Bengals director player personnel Duke Tobin was more Derrick Henry-esque in his responses, stiff-arming anything contract related.

“I don’t have any updates on contract stuff,” Tobin said. “(Burrow’s) been great. He’s here, ready to go and ready to build the team back to where it was. But I’m not going to be providing any type of potential contract stuff.”

After a follow-up question about the general structure and what might be the biggest challenges as they relate to the explosion of the overall quarterback market, Tobin was even more direct in his attempt to shut down the topic.

“He wants to get paid what he feels is worthy money, and we want to pay him what we feel is worthy money,” Tobin said. “It has to work out for both, but that’s the most I’ll say about it. You can keep beating on it, but I’m not going to go into it.”

The Eagles made Jalen Hurts the highest-paid player in the league at $51 million per season, signing their 2020 second-round pick to a five-year, $255 million extension on April 25.

Meanwhile, the top three quarterbacks from that draft — Burrow (No. 1 overall), the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa, and the Chargers’ Justin Herbert — all have had their fifth-year options exercised but have not signed their extensions.

Of course, Burrow isn’t the only key player from that franchise-altering 2020 Bengals draft class looking for an extension. Wide receiver Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson could cash in as well, but it’s unlikely anything will happen with them until the structure and value of the Burrow deal are finalized.

“I don’t know how these pieces are gonna fit just yet,” Brown said. “We have a pretty good idea of how much we have to spend, how it’s accounted for, and the cap. We don’t know yet where these other deals are going to end up.

“I hope to get them all done (at) the earliest,” Brown added. “The earlier, the better. Hope — that’s a weaselly word. No, I’m not shocked that this thing is where it is. It is only natural that they want to get what they can get, the best they can get. These people are highly competent. They know what they’re doing. We’ll see how it comes together.”

With Burrow set to reset the quarterback market and 2021 first-round pick Ja’Marr Chase expected to do the same next year, re-signing Higgins to an extension would create a huge imbalance in the amount of money allotted toward the offense as the Bengals also signed left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to a franchise-record signing bonus of $31 million when they signed him to a four-year, $64.1 million contract in March.

“You’ve got to have a whole team,” Tobin said. “That’s the unique thing about football — there’s a lot of mouths to feed. And when you get good players, you want to keep them at every position. But sometimes you have to prioritize players and positions based on what they’re doing for your current team.”

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