Bengals should re-sign Vontaze Burfict before Andy Dalton

Andy Lyons

No offense to Dalton, but Burfict is more at risk of suffering an injury during camp and potentially his first big NFL deal.

The most important events that happen for the Cincinnati Bengals this year could occur in the coming weeks. That's re-signing linebacker Vontaze Burfict and quarterback Andy Dalton.

Though he's 0-3 in the playoffs and has yet to establish himself as a franchise QB, the Bengals are committed to Dalton ,ad it's a matter of when, not if, they sign him to a long-term deal.

That said, Burfict is the one they need to focus on locking up first, preferably before the start of training camp.

In case you missed it, Falcons OLB Sean WeatherspoonCowboys MLB Sean Lee and Bills OLB Kiko Alonso all suffered season-ending injuries while working out this offseason. Weatherspoon suffered his while rehabbing a previous injury, while Lee suffered his during a non-contract football drill. Alonso suffered his during a workout.

When is the last time a QB suffered a serious injury during an offseason workout, or even during practice?

The truth is, Burfict could suffer a serious injury on the first day of camp, but Dalton will likely go unscathed through the preseason and into his fourth NFL season. Dalton can afford to wait until the second preseason game before he even plays significant snaps in a game and risks injury.

There's rarely serious injuries suffered by starting QBs in the preseason or training camp. Even if Dalton did suffer an injury that cost him much, if not all of 2014, he still can be franchised tagged next year.

On the other hand, Burfict is a restricted free agent, and another team could theoretically sign him to a deal the Bengal would be unable to match.

Regardless of what the Bengals want, Burfict deserves the money and security that comes with a new long-term deal. To this point, he's made just over $1 million in his two NFL seasons, and is scheduled to make $570,000 this year.

Dalton has made $3.6 million dollars and will make $1.6 million this year. If Dalton were to suffer a serious injury, he's made a pretty good living to this point. The same cannot be said for Burfict, who's shown he's a star in the making at linebacker, whereas no one is really sure what Dalton is. Good teams pay their stars first.

The Bengals are likely still working to get both re-signed as we speak, but they need to make Burfict a higher priority for the time being. If it comes to him wanting to bet on himself and play out the final year of his deal, that's his decision.

All indications though are that he wants to get a deal done now, and the gap between the two sides appeared to be narrow earlier this offseason.

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