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Bengals and Vontaze Burfict making significant progress for a contract extension

Cincinnati's top linebacker had led the Bengals in tackles every year that he's been in the NFL (174 in 2012 and 188 in 2013). In only his second season, Burfict went to the 2014 Pro Bowl.

The Cincinnati Bengals have made considerable progress with linebacker Vontaze Burfict. According to Fox Sports, both sides are closing in on a long-term extension with Mike Garafolo writing that "the gulf that once existed in talks has shrunk significantly." Burfict, who signed a three-year deal after the 2012 NFL draft as a college free agent, is due to become a restricted free agent following the 2014 season.

Burfict has led the Bengals in tackles every year he's been with the team (174 in 2012 and 188 in 2013). In only his second season (named Cincinnati's PFWA MVP), Burfict went to the 2014 Pro Bowl after leading the league in tackles. He also led Cincinnati with seven tackles-for-loss while adding three quarterback sacks, an interception, forced fumble, two recoveries with one returned for a touchdown. He was the first Bengals linebacker to reach the all-star game since Jim LeClair in 1976.

Earlier this season, Burfict signed an agreement with Paradigm Sports that offers full-service representation.

"I chose to sign with Audie Attar and Ryan Buescher of Paradigm Sports Management because I felt the guys were honest and hard working with a lot of industry knowledge that will help take my career to the next level," Burfict said in a press release. "They have put together a team of high-level executives that have a wealth of expertise and experience and believe in a team approach that best suits my needs. The Paradigm team will be working alongside my marketing manager, Rajiv Sharma to ensure I maximize my career on an off the field. I'm so excited to add this great group of professionals to my team."