Have you ever noticed that when someone truly wants to do something, and they have the ability to do it, it usually gets done?
Well, it certainly looks like the Cincinnati Bengals and Director of Player Personnel and de-facto General Manager Duke Tobin want to extend both quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Tee Higgins.
“Whether we can get them extended beyond (this year) or not, the hope is that we could,” Tobin told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com recently.
And there are definitely scenarios in which both Burrow and Higgins could sign extensions and still fit within the framework of Cincinnati’s current salary cap.
Salary cap expert Andre Perrotta recently suggested that the Bengals could sign Burrow to a team-friendly 8-year, $408 million extension that would include a $60 million signing bonus. Cincinnati would allow Burrow to play the 2023 season under his current contract and would exercise his fifth-year option in 2024, which would be worth about $29.5 million.
The amount of the signing bonus would be second only to the $66 million received by Dallas’ Dak Prescott, and the Bengals would be able to spread the cap hit out over five years. Perotta also proposes a couple of “rolling guarantees” toward the back end of the contract that would bring that would keep the cap hit reasonable in the early years of the deal.
A total of $142.6 million would be fully guaranteed at signing, second only to Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson, with over $240 million in total guarantees.
And, believe it or not, it still leaves room for Higgins’ extension to get done.
Perrotta proposes a 4-year, $95 million extension for Higgins, with incentives that could take it up to $100 million. It also includes a signing bonus of $25 million. That deal would average out to a minimum of $23.75 million per extension year, making Higgins the ninth-highest-paid receiver in football.
And it would also be cap friendly. If the Bengals do not extend Higgins but elect to franchise him next year, they would have to pay him around $24.5 million. Combined with his 2023 salary of about $3.5 million, Higgins would receive around $28 million dollars over the next two years.
Higgins would receive around $29 million in year one of the proposed extension, with a cap hit of under $10 million. Compared to his current salary, that is only about a $6 million net to the cap.
So, where there is a will, there is a way.
“Something we think about all the time, the contract things you can’t predict when and if they’ll get done,” Tobin said during a recent media availability. “We’re working to try to have as many good players on our football team as we can and try to keep them as long as we can. The ones that are producing really fit well here we’re trying, like heck to get those guys extended, renegotiated, signed after their contract expires.”
Obviously, Burrow and Higgins are among the best football players on the team, and in the entire NFL for that matter. Hopefully, those efforts will produce fruit sooner rather than later.