The Cincinnati Bengals are set to have another big free agent class next offseason.
The latest crop of players that may see what 31 other NFL teams have to offer includes Tyler Eifert and Vontaze Burfict, easily two of the Bengals’ most important players. Eifert is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which is the fifth-year option that will pay him $4,782,000 in 2017.
Eifert has been injury-prone throughout his career thus far, but his impact on this offense cannot be denied. When healthy, Eifert is arguably the game’s second-best tight end behind only Rob Gronkowski. There aren’t many true franchise tight ends in this league, but Eifert is among them.
As for Burfict, he’s going to have a similar cap hit in 2017 at $4,725,000. That’s being underpaid for one of the game’s best linebackers. You can bet his next contract will have him topping that number and making him one of the game’s highest-paid backers.
But Burfict has also had his fair share of issues staying on the field. Injuries and suspensions have led to him missing 22 games over the last three seasons. He didn’t miss any over his first two seasons before signing a new four-year, $19 million deal prior to the 2014 season. Burfict’s next deal will almost certainly pay him more than that one.
The same is true of Eifert. If you look at the top five tight ends in terms of annual value, Eifert should expect to make somewhere around $10 million annually with his next contract.
If you look at the top five inside linebackers, it’s about the same with the top guys making around $10 million annually. Burfict won’t make as much as the top outside linebackers who rush the passer a lot (Von Miller, Justin Houston, Chandler Jones, etc.), but he’ll still make a pretty penny.
Of course, there’s always a chance the Bengals slap the franchise tag on one of these guys, but history suggests that won’t be an option. The Bengals like to either extend their own players or let them hit the open market and see what’s out there.
So when it comes down to it, who should the Bengals be working harder to extend this offseason?
Who should be extended first, Burfict or Eifert?
This poll is closed