Why Usually Talkative Ja’Marr Chase Stayed Silent After Report to Bengals Minicamp

Just because Ja'Marr Chase didn't want to talk about contract negotiations with the Bengals doesn't mean there are stumbling blocks to new deal.

CINCINNATICincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was on the field for the first practice of the mandatory minicamp practice Tuesday, but he declined to talk to reporters afterward, instead letting teammate Joe Burrow’s news conference dominate the headlines.

During a nearly 20-minute, introspective news conference, Burrow talked about his football mortality and the mental challenges that come with dealing with so many injuries.

Burrow also discussed having Chase back on the field, which the receiver himself would have no doubt been happy to discuss. But he knew questions about his next contract would dominate the conversation after the Minnesota Vikings made wide receiver Justin Jefferson the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league.

Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase Brings Energy, Silence to Minicamp

It is unclear whether Chase will speak to reporters on Wednesday, but Burrow said he’s been in contact with his good friend during the offseason.

“Every once in a while, we’ll text each other throughout the offseason,” Burrow said. “We’re always thinking ball. So he’ll text me one of his thoughts. I’ll text him one of my thoughts. That’s the chemistry that you need to go out and perform the way that we have and that we’re gonna continue.”

There was no chemistry on display Tuesday as Chase did not participate in anything other than a half-speed walkthrough to kick off the practice prior to team stretch.

But Chase didn’t need to run routes to make an impact on practice.

“You definitely feel his presence,” Burrow said. “He’s a guy that always brings energy, always is talking to guys, whether it’s about executing the play that’s being run or whether it’s just providing some fun and some energy. He’s a happy-go-lucky kind of guy that you love being around. So it’s always good to have him back.”

One thing Burrow and Chase did not — and have not — discuss was the receiver’s status on a contract extension.

“I think the best way to handle that is to let him handle business the way that he sees fit,” Burrow said.

The same goes for the front office, as Burrow said he hasn’t felt the need to vouch for Chase’s value to the team.

“It doesn’t need to be stated. Everyone knows what we got in him,” he said.

After Thursday’s practice, the players will take their six-week summer break. Burrow said he doesn’t think it is necessary to arrange for any throwing sessions with Chase.

“I feel good about where our chemistry is. I don’t feel the need for that. But if it happens, it happens,” Burrow said.

But there is another receiver Burrow would like to throw to during the break — Tee Higgins.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he said.

Like Chase, Higgins has not been present throughout the offseason program. Higgins requested a trade after the Bengals used the franchise tag on him.

Higgins requested a trade and has refused to sign the franchise tag, but it’s only a matter of when, not if, he puts pen to paper and reports. That’s likely to be sometime in late August, giving him a couple of weeks to ramp up for the season opener as he’s set to make $21.8 million guaranteed on the tag.

Chase is due $4.9 million in cash in the fourth year of his rookie contract. The team exercised the fifth-year option for 2025, which will pay Chase a guaranteed $21.8 million.

But he is looking for a contract on par with Jefferson’s, which has an average annual salary of $35 million with $110 million in guarantees.

KEEP READING: Joe Burrow Opens Up About Mentality, Mortality Amid Rehab

That Chase didn’t want to talk Tuesday isn’t a reflection of any animosity or insurmountable obstacles in the negotiation process. It’s more about the free-speaking receiver trying to avoid saying anything he might regret.

We’ll see if Chase fields questions on Wednesday or Thursday, but the better bet is that he’ll break his silence sometime early in training camp, regardless of whether he has a new deal at that point.

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Bengals Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Bengals Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Related Articles