well babyESPN Writer3 minute read
CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has remained tight-lipped about his ongoing contract negotiations.
But he clarified a few points Tuesday during his first press conference since the end of the 2022 season. The Cincinnati star knows exactly what he is looking for in his next contract, which could make him the highest paid player in the league.
As he continues his talks with the Bengals, Burrow said he’s keeping teammates in consideration who may also receive contract extensions.
“Any time you have guys on the team that need to be paid, that’s always on your mind,” Burrow said. “You want it to be a focal point. We’re working to make that happen.”
Burrow delivered his comments a day after the Bengals began phase two of team practices. Many of the team’s projected starters, including wide receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, were present inside the team’s indoor practice bubble.
Higgins, the team’s second-round pick in the 2020 draft, is also eligible for an extension as he enters his fourth season. The former Clemson standout had 3,028 receiving yards in his first three seasons.
The receiver denied rumors circulating online that a contract was in place. He added that Burrow’s comments indicate what was discussed between them privately — the quarterback wants to keep the core intact for as many years as possible.
“We’re talking about sticking together for the long term,” Higgins said. “Hopefully we can do that and negotiate something where they can keep the three of us.”
Chase, the Associated Press’ 2021 Rookie of the Year and two-time Pro Bowl pick, said Burrow’s comments exemplify the type of quarterback he is.
“He knows what he has to do to win and he wants to win,” said Chase, who won’t be eligible for a new contract until next offseason. “He’s a winning guy. He’s not a quarterback who’s always interested in the money and stuff. He just wants to win, and that’s what matters most about Joe.”
The Bengals have had plenty of wins since drafting Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 draft. After a knee injury ended his rookie season, Burrow was named the returning player of the league. league year in 2021. Cincinnati won its first playoff game since January 1991 and reached the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 seasons, losing to the Los Angeles Rams. in Super Bowl LVI.
A loss to Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game last season kept Cincinnati from getting to the NFL’s biggest game again. In the 23-20 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions, Higgins and Chase accounted for 14 of Burrow’s 26 completions and combined for 158 receiving yards and a touchdown.
“You have to have good players,” Burrow said when asked if this game was an example of why he kept them top of mind. “It doesn’t matter how good your quarterback is. If you don’t have good players around him, you’re not going to be a very good team.”