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Vontaze Burfict and Cincinnati Bengals agree to 4-year deal

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The Bengals reportedly locked up one of their young stars on Wednesday with a four-year extension for linebacker, Vontaze Burfict.

Andy Lyons

UPDATE: Per Adam Caplan of ESPN, the deal is actually done.

The Bengals tend to like to get extensions done around this time of year. Last year, they inked defensive linemen Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins to mega-deals, quarterback Andy Dalton's deal was done during this year's Training Camp and now Burfict's deal is completed. If that's not a nucleus of a team, I don't know what is.

Say what you want, but this team's front office is doing an excellent job of keeping its core players together. Wide receiver A.J. Green might be next up for a deal, but for now, savor this one, Bengals fans..

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The Cincinnati Bengals and Vontaze Burfict seemed to have tabled contract talks early in training camp when an impasse was reached. That was before the team reached a deal with Andy Dalton, leaving Burfict as their primary focus before the 2014 NFL regular season opened.

It appears the two sides have indeed made progress since then.

Earlier this offseason, Fox Sports Mike Garafolo reported that "the gulf that once existed in talks has shrunk significantly." Since then, there hadn't been any real updates on the negotiations other than Adam Caplan's report.

Burfict, who signed a three-year deal after the 2012 NFL draft as a college free agent, is was due to become a restricted free agent following the 2014 season. Getting him re-signed before he hits restricted free agency in 2015 is the Bengals' biggest priority right now. 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 and 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.