Rob Gronkowski is now in the position of giving out advice as a happily retired Super Bowl champ, and that includes sending suggestions to Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow as he engages in contract negations with the franchise.
Rob Gronkowski Shares What Joe Burrow Should Look for in Extension
Burrow has clearly become everything the Bengals envisioned when he was drafted first overall and much, much more. He’s already led them to back-to-back AFC title game appearances and an AFC title in his first three seasons in the league.
Burrow, though, now faces a new challenge with his franchise: terms for a new long-term contract.
The Bengals Pro Bowler is officially up for an extension. But four-time Super Bowl champion Gronkowski gave Burrow some advice via “Up & Adams” with Kay Adams on Wednesday.
“You take a quarterback-friendly deal,” Gronkowski suggested to Burrow. “What’s the difference between $40-47, $48 million, or $53-54 million when the next highest guy on your team’s only getting paid in the 20s? There’s already that big of a difference between your pay and the next highest-paid guy on your team. So who cares?”
Gronk believes going this route allows Burrow to contend every year with the Bengals and surround himself with the necessary weapons to make that title push.
What ‘QB-Friendly Deal’ Does for Burrow and Bengals
Burrow is currently entering Year 4 of his $36 million rookie deal that includes a $23 million signing bonus. He doesn’t become an unrestricted free agent until 2025, as Cincinnati picked up his fifth-year option, preventing him from entering free agency after this upcoming season.
Taking what Gronk suggests ensures the Bengals won’t be over the salary cap and can work on keeping their core pieces together for the future — a la Ja’Marr Chase (rookie deal expires in 2026) and Tee Higgins. The latter, though, is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2024 with his current contract.
Already, blockbuster deals for QBs have happened for Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson, as both surpassed the $50 million mark annually. Burrow, being a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-contending passer like Hurts, could demand a deal that places him near or above what those two QBs made.
Yet, Gronkowski believes Burrow should pivot and take a route similar to his former future Hall of Fame QB, Tom Brady.
“I’m waiting for a quarterback to do that, like kind of go down the Brady route,” Gronkowski said. “Not as much as the Brady route. I mean, he was taking 50% discounts, which we don’t even get at the pro shop in New England.”
Burrow in Negotiation Mode
Time will tell if Burrow picks up on Gronk’s advice. In the meantime, he revealed that he and the Bengals are having discussions behind closed doors.
“I’m involved. That’s in the works,” Burrow told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s not really something that I like to play out in the media. Just the way I think they want to do business, I want to do business. We prefer to keep that between us.”
While Burrow’s pending deal will get compared to Hurts’ and Jackson’s, another parallel is Josh Allen and his massive 2021 deal that saw him extend for six more seasons worth up to $258 million. Has Burrow hit up Allen about his current situation?
“No, I haven’t really talked to (Allen) about it,” Burrow said. “I’m pretty clear on what I want in the contract and what I think is best for myself and the team. So we’re on the road to making that happen.”
That road will either see Gronk’s suggestion or something in the ballpark of Hurts, Jackson, or Allen.