Having been selected first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow’s contract with the Cincinnati Bengals is an initial four-year deal with a fifth-year option for the team. Let’s take a look at the details of Burrow’s contract, his salary cap numbers, and the Bengals’ options in terms of extensions and the fifth-year option.
Joe Burrow Contract Details and Bonuses
As part of being the first overall selection, Burrow’s contract was fixed as a four-year deal worth $36.190 million. Included in that was a $23.880 million signing bonus and roster bonuses in 2021, 2022, and 2023. His salary makes up just $3.295 million of the contract, with the remaining $9.015 million coming in those three roster bonuses.
In the final year of his rookie deal, Burrow is set to count for $11.515 million against the Bengals’ salary cap. His $1.010 million salary, $4.535 million roster bonus, and $5.970 million prorated signing bonus make up that cap number for the upcoming season. Burrow is set to count for around five percent of the Bengals’ cap space this season.
When Can the Bengals Exercise the Fifth-Year Option?
As part of being a first-round selection, the Bengals have the opportunity to exercise a fifth-round option for Burrow. Now entering the offseason following Burrow’s third year in the league, the Bengals have until May 1 to exercise the fifth-year option for their star QB. Assuming they do not agree to a contract extension before that, there is little doubt the Bengals will exercise the fifth-year option.
Much like Burrow’s original rookie contract, the value of the fifth-year option is set at a pre-determined level. Four potential tiers determine the value of fifth-year options based on the performance of the players through the first three years. The four tiers for fifth-year option value are as follows:
- Multiple Pro Bowls
- One Pro Bowl
- 75% or more in two of the first three years
- An average of 75% across the first three years
- 50% or more in all three seasons
- Basic: Does not qualify for any of the above
Burrow was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in the 2022 NFL season, meaning he is eligible for the third tier. Therefore, if the Bengals pick up Burrow’s fifth-year option, his salary in the 2024 season will be the equivalent of the 2023 transition tag. That value is currently projected to be $30.402 million and will be finalized when the salary cap number is set for the 2023 league year.
What Might a Contract Extension Look Like for Burrow?
Now that Burrow has completed his third season in the NFL, he is eligible for a contract extension. We have already seen a number of reports that getting Burrow signed long-term is a priority for the Bengals this offseason. It will be intriguing to see how those contract negotiations shake out, with the Bengals definitely having Burrow under contract for the next two seasons.
In their market value evaluations, Spotrac currently projects Burrow to earn around $44 million per year over a six-year deal. However, we have also heard reports that Burrow could push Aaron Rodgers to be the highest-paid QB in the league at $50.2 million per year. With fellow 2020 first-round pick Justin Herbert also eligible for a contract extension this offseason, we could see Burrow and his team let the Los Angeles Chargers QB set the market before commanding his price.
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It seems unlikely that we will see Burrow settle for much less than $50 million a year in his contract extension. We have seen a combination of different QB contracts signed in recent years, with Josh Allen choosing to sign a slightly “below market” deal of $43.006 million per year, but loaded with incentives to make it worth much more.
The other question for Burrow will be about the length of the contract. Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year deal, Allen’s is for six years, while Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson have five-year deals. If Burrow pushes for a deal to match Mahomes, then he could become the first player to have a contract worth $500 million.
Joe Burrow’s Net Worth
Joe Burrow’s current net worth is projected to be around $10 million. However, with uncertainty over earnings from promotional work, this number is hard to estimate accurately. What we do know is that to this point, Burrow has earned $30.627 million. That is set to rise to at least $36.172 million in 2023 and to more than $65 million in 2024. Therefore, Burrow’s net worth is set to increase exponentially in the next few years, especially when he signs a contract extension.