The Cincinnati Bengals have a sizable amount of cap space committed to the linebacker position in 2017.
According to Spotrac, the Bengals are set to have a cap hit of $16,275,856 this season for their linebackers. That accounts for 9.39 percent of the team’s overall cap. However, it’s the ninth-smallest cap hit for linebackers of any NFL team in 2017.
There’s a reason why the Bengals have good amount of cash committed to linebackers but don’t rank high on this list. That’s because these rankings factor in 3-4 outside linebackers like Justin Houston, Von Miller, Robert Quinn, Brian Orakpo and Chandler Jones. Those are players making around $10 million this year, but most, if not all of them would be 4-3 defensive ends on the Bengals’ defense.
Regardless, the Bengals are paying their linebackers nicely in 2017. Leading the way is Vontaze Burfict, who’s played at a Pro Bowl-level for much of his career, and has even been All-Pro worthy at several points.
However, Burfict will have a mere $4,725,000 cap hit in 2017 as one of the most underpaid linebackers in football. Then again, Burfict has missed 23 games (including the playoffs) during the last three seasons due to injuries and suspension, so it’s not like he can complain too much about his current pay.
Though, Burfict could receive a contract extension this summer and I do think he will get paid at least $5 million per year, on average, on that next deal. Whether it’s with the Bengals or another team remains to be seen.
The next biggest cap hit for a linebacker is newcomer Kevin Minter. His deal is worth $4.25 million, and like many of the Bengals’ contracts, it includes several incentives.
According to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, Minter received a $2.1 million signing bonus, which is the only guaranteed money in the deal. He can earn a $1.1 million workout bonus and has a per-game roster bonus worth up to $250,000.
If cut, the Bengals would be on the hook for $2,100,000 with Minter. That’s actually one of the bigger dead cap hits of any Bengals player. It also dwarfs Burfict’s mere $775,000 dead cap hit.
The only other linebacker making even $1 million is Vincent Rey. The veteran special teams ace and do-it-all backer will make $3,250,000 in 2017. After him, second-year linebacker Nick Vigil has the next biggest cap hit at a mere $738,907.
It’s worth noting that Spotrac does not consider Jordan Willis a linebacker, and even the Bengals list him as a defensive end. However, Over The Cap thinks Willis should be a linebacker, which would add a $691,100 cap hit to this position in 2017, so it’s not a big deal either way.
Here is a contract breakdown of all the Bengals’ linebackers, courtesy of Spotrac: