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Comparing Vontaze Burfict’s new contract to other top NFL linebackers

The Bengals agreed to a contract extension with their star linebacker on Thursday, making him one of the top-paid players at his position.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Almost every summer, the Bengals attempt to re-sign some of their core stars whose contracts are set to expire the following offseason. This year, tight end Tyler Eifert and linebacker Vontaze Burfict were two of the players on the team’s radar in this capacity.

On Thursday, the team agreed to a mega-deal with Burfict, reported to be a three-year, $38.68 million extension. The deal ensures that Burfict will stay in Cincinnati as he approaches 30 years old. The deal is said to include $11 million up front.

In the previous extension he signed in the 2014 offseason, Burfict was making an average of $4.751 million per year, which ranked 27th among NFL outside linebackers. With his new deal, Burfict will be making an average of $12.89 million per year, though the entire structure of the extension hasn’t been made public yet.

That figure now makes Burfict the 7th-highest paid outside linebacker, per Spotrac, in terms of average salary per year. It also makes him the highest-paid 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL by those same standards. Here are the names who rank ahead of Burfict:

  1. Von Miller, Broncos: $19.016 million average annual salary
  2. Justin Houston, Chiefs: $16.833 million average annual salary
  3. Chandler Jones, Cardinals: $16.5 million average annual salary
  4. Melvin Ingram, Chargers: $16 million average annual salary
  5. Robert Quinn, Rams: $14.253 million average annual salary
  6. Clay Matthews, Packers: $13.2 million average annual salary

The next closest outside linebacker to Burfict’s average annual salary with a similar skill set (AKA not an edge rusher), is Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David at $10.05 million. In terms of inside linebackers, Burfict’s $12.89 million average annual salary puts him even ahead of Luke Kuechly ($12.36 million average annual salary), who signed an extension with the Panthers back in 2015.

As mentioned above, we’re not privy to the full details of the three-year deal yet, but one has to believe that these numbers should have incentives tied to them. After making the Pro Bowl in 2013 and playing in all 34 games his first two pro seasons (playoffs included), Burfict has missed significant time since 2014 because of injuries and suspensions.

Aside from missing the first three games this season, Burfict has missed a combined 23 other games, including the postseason, from 2014-2016. While he’s one of the best players at his respective position when he’s on the field, these issues unfortunately come with the territory of having No. 55 on one’s roster.

Regardless, the Bengals continue to take care of their own, as evidenced in now making Burfict one of the highest-paid linebackers in the league. Cincinnati’s brain trust is also continuing their trend of keeping much of their core intact and re-signing players who are in their prime before they hit the open market.


Did the Bengals make the right call with Vontaze Burfict’s new deal?

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