Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow strolled into his first news conference in exactly six weeks looking — and sounding — as though he didn’t have a care in the world. His strained calf felt good after another full practice, and he’s expecting to be his usual self on the field in Cleveland on Sunday.
And while the season opener marks a finish line for his recovery, it could double as a deadline for his contract negotiations toward an extension that should make him the highest-paid player in the league.
What Joe Burrow Said About His Contract Negotiations
But the guy who has been managing and avoiding pressure in the pocket since he arrived in Cincinnati met the pressure of the ticking contract clock with the same nonchalance.
“That’s the last thing I’m thinking about,” he said. “I’m worried about beating the Browns right now.”
That could mean 1) it really is the last thing he is thinking about, which seems doubtful, or 2) he likes the progress that has been made and feels good about something happening soon.
“I’m not worried about it or anything,” he would say later.
Burrow and his representation have followed the Brown family’s lead of not discussing negotiations, which makes sense. But the last time he sat in front of the media after the first day of training camp on July 26, he was short and dismissive when even the most general of questions were posed about the extension.
Today sounded a little different. More relaxed. More assured.
Burrow: The contract is gonna come. I'm gonna keep playing well.
— Jay Morrison (@ByJayMorrison) September 6, 2023
“That’s gonna come,” he said of the contract. “I’m gonna keep playing well. I feel great about the organization and everybody in the locker room and in the coaching staff, and so, you know, that’s the icing on the cake to me. I’m just excited to be out here.”
Burrow said the idea of taking things easy and slowing his recovery until a deal is done was never a thought he entertained. But he did admit that the ramifications of reaggravating the calf strain or suffering a new injury before signing his new deal have crossed his mind.
“Those are all the things that you think about, right? But I feel like I’m in the position that I’m in because I love playing football,” he said. “I work really hard to put myself in a really good position to go out and be successful. And that’s just what I enjoy doing. I wouldn’t be myself if I wasn’t able to do that. I’m not going to let the business side of things take that away from me.”
Ironically enough, as Burrow was speaking to the media for nearly 20 minutes, his representatives were putting the final touches on a massive contract for one his best friends, former Ohio State teammate Nick Bosa, who agreed to a five-year, $170 million extension that makes him the highest-paid defensive player in the league.
That frees them to focus fully on making Burrow the game’s highest-paid offensive player.
Bosa, who was entering the final year of his deal, never took the negotiation stalemate to request a trade, and Burrow, who is under contract for two more years, said that’s not a tactic he would consider either.
“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to be my whole career,” he said. “We’re working toward making that happen. You’ve seen what the front office has done and what Zac [Taylor] has done in their time here. I’m a small part of that. And I’m excited to be a part of that.”
“We have great people in the locker room that grind every day and are excited to go showcase their talents and are excited to do it in the city of Cincinnati,” he continued. “We have the best fans. So this is where I want to be.”
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