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Brandon Allen must be ready to step up if called upon

Allen will again serve as the team’s backup to superstar Joe Burrow, and he shouldn’t take Burrow’s health for granted.

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals’ fanbase is hoping that Brandon Allen doesn’t see the field this season except for maybe at the tail end of blowouts.

Allen will be the backup for superstar quarterback Joe Burrow for a third straight season and should continue to grow in his role. While not quite as popular with Burrow in town, one play could change all that for Allen.

Of course, no one hopes to see the Bengals rising star get injured. But we’ve seen many times before, how good a team’s backup is can change the dynamic of a season.

Brandon Allen

  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 209 pounds
  • Age: 29
  • Position: Quarterback
  • College: Arkansas
  • Hometown: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Experience: Entering fourth season

Contract status

Allen is signed through 2022. He is on a one-year deal that is worth $1.5 million.

His base salary is $1.2 million with a signing bonus of $300,000. His dead cap value is that $300,000. He’s guaranteed $300,000 as well. Without a large cap hit, Allen shouldn’t be worried about being released or waived to free up space.


Allen was taken in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Originally selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Arkansas, Allen never played a snap with the franchise that drafted him.

He was waived by the Jags in 2017. Allen signed with the Rams then had a plethora of cuts and signings with Los Angeles before being acquired off waived by the Broncos in 2019.

He played and started three games for Denver, throwing 3 touchdowns and passing for 515 yards. He had 2 interceptions and was 1-2 in those three games. Allen signed with the Bengals in 2020 and was Burrow’s backup, sharing the spotlight with Ryan Finley.

Following Burrow’s knee injury in 2020, Allen stepped in and started five games, posting a 1-4 record. He threw for five touchdowns and had four interceptions, completing a career-high 63.4% of his attempts.

A big reason why the Bengals have faith in Allen is because of his 2020 performance in a road start vs. Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Allen had the game of his life, throwing for 371 yards and two scores with no turnovers on 29/37 passing while earning an 81.2 QBR and 126.6 passer rating.

That included a game-winning drive in the final minutes as Cincinnati pulled off a 37-31 win in Houston.

The Bengals then brought Allen back in 2021. He played in six games, starting one and throwing for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

2022 Outlook

With the star power at quarterback, Allen isn’t expected to see a significant increase in numbers this season.

However, thus far into training camp, Allen is getting a much bigger workload than expected while Burrow recovers from an appendectomy, which could sideline him for the entire preseason.

Because of this, Allen is getting a lot more valuable reps that should boost his chemistry with guys like Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd in the event the veteran has to actually play meaningful regular-season snaps.

Still, the hope is Burrow will be back soon and not miss anytime this season, in which case a successful season for the 29-year-old Allen is just being a capable backup and staying prepared when called upon. Allen hasn’t played many meaningful games over his three-year career, but the Bengals believe he can do so this year if Burrow misses time.

Allen will continue to serve a purpose in the Queen City, and as long as his connection with Burrow and understanding of the offensive grows, he should continue to have a spot on the roster in Cincinnati.

No. 8 won’t have a pretty role, but it’s going to be one that could be crucial, especially if Burrow misses a few games this season. Allen won’t be talked about much until it’s all on him.

But for backups, that’s their mission, and the hope is that he’ll be ready if called upon.

Roster Odds: 100%