Say what you will about Mike Brown and the Cincinnati Bengals, but they have a long history of taking care of their own, especially when their own happen to be in the prime of their careers.
The latest example of that came on Thursday when the Bengals inked linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a three year, $38.68 million extension that will keep the former Arizona State undrafted free agent in Bengals’ stripes through the 2020 season.
You can go back as far as 2005, when Cincinnati reworked and extended the contract of franchise quarterback Carson Palmer in an effort to keep him in Cincinnati through the 2014 season, and potentially for the remainder of his career. Of course, we all know how that worked out.
Then, the very next year, the Bengals signed star receiver Chad Johnson to a six-year, $35.5 million deal that included a $5 million signing bonus.
In 2011, Cincinnati gave cornerback Leon Hall a four-year, $39 million extension that included $14 in guaranteed money, while at the same time extending the contract of left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
The Bengals’ current roster is littered with players who are working into their second contracts and beyond.
Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins signed a five-year, $55 million extension, including $22 million in the first six months, in 2013, and linemate Carlos Dunlap, who officially became the Bengals’ all-time sack leader in 2015, signed a six-year, $40 million extension, including $20 million during the first two years of the deal, that same year.
Andy Dalton became potentially one of the top-five highest paid quarterbacks in the league when he signed a team-friendly, $115 million dollar extension through the 2020 season, including $22 million within the first six months of the deal. Now, that deal looks like a steal with more than a dozen quarterbacks paid higher.
But no contract extension was bigger than the one handed out to the Bengals’ all-world wide receiver Adriel Jeremiah Green in 2015. That deal, which was four years and $60 million, will pay Green more money up front, more total dollars sooner and gives him a higher annual average than Dallas’ Dez Bryant, Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Atlanta’s Julio Jones.
Right guard Clint Boling also signed an extension that year, agreeing to stay with the Bengals on a five-year, $26 million contract.
H-back Ryan Hewitt, who many consider to be one of the premier fullbacks in the National Football League, inked a three year extension last year, as did running back Giovanni Bernard, whose three-year $15.5 million dollar extension will keep him in Cincinnati through the end of the 2020 season.
Safety George Iloka reached a five year, $30 million contract agreement with the Bengals in 2016, an extension that allows him to earn $18 million over the first three years of the deal. Position mate Shawn Williams signed a four-year, $19.5 million dollar deal, which can go as high as $21.5 million with incentives, to keep him with the team through 2020.
Dre Kirkpatrick became one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the league earlier this year when he agreed to a five-year, $52.5 million dollar extension. Fellow starter Adam Jones, who at 33 is still one of the top cornerbacks in the league, signed a three-year extension with the club last year that is worth about $20 million.
Vincent Rey, who like Burfict was also an undrafted free agent, signed his own three-year, $11.5 million extension in 2016.
So, if you are under 30 and have had productive seasons with the Bengals in the past, the chances are very good that the team will go out of its way to keep you around for the long haul. There are some positions the Bengals may not value as highly as others, guard for example. But the Bengals have shown a commitment to re-signing the team’s best players and keeping them in Cincinnati.
NFL.com has reported the Burfict extension totals $38.68 million and includes a $3.3 million signing bonus. It also includes an additional $7 million this season.
Burfict is only the latest example of Cincinnati’s commitment to developing and retaining its best players. Hopefully, tight end Tyler Eifert will not be far behind.
Did the Bengals make the right call with Vontaze Burfict’s new deal?
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