Not long after a report came out that the Bengals and Andy Dalton were not close to a contract extension, there are now reports suggesting the same with Vontaze Burfict.
Adam Caplan of ESPN reports Burfict and the Bengals appear to have reached a wall in talks for a long-term extension.
#Bengals starting WLB Vontaze Burfict and the team appear to have reached a contract impasse, according to a source.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) July 31, 2014
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo reported earlier this offseason that "the gulf that once existed in talks has shrunk significantly" between the Bengals and Burfict's agent.
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.
It's a bit disheartening to hear the talks for both Dalton and Burfict may have broken down. However, this could a be a ploy by either the Bengals or Burfict's agent to put more pressure on the other side to get a deal done. This would be a major distraction this season if both Dalton and Burfict are playing on the final year of their contract.
Burfict is a restricted free agent, so the team does control his rights next offseason.