Drafted players are able to renegotiate their contracts at the completion of their third accrued NFL season. As it just so happens, Bengals QB Joe Burrow is about to wrap up his third season — perfect timing for Cincinnati to get their star quarterback under lock before he gives us even more reason to believe he's the next Patrick Mahomes.

What is Joe Burrow worth?

At this point, Spotrac estimates a Joe Burrow extension as a six-year, $264 million contract based on signings by other similarly tiered quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson).

The above deal would yield him an average of $44 million per year, which would rank as the sixth-highest average annual salary among quarterbacks. However, if he manages to bring them to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season, it figures he'll probably be able to negotiate a bit higher than that.

What is the downside to signing too early? What's the upside?

The downside for Burrow signing an extension before he has to: If there's a significant increase in the salary cap, there's more money to be made! Imagine he doesn't come to terms with the team this offseason and he plays through his rookie contract. If the salary cap continues to climb, so does his potential payout.

Now for the upside: Signing a contract ahead of his fourth NFL season gets him more money, sooner. Burrow signed a four-year rookie contract worth $36.1 million. That's a lot of money, but it's still just under $10 million less than what Spotrac is projecting he could make in a single season under a new contract. Plus, should Burrow's quality of play decline rapidly (it won't — I hope) or suffer an injury (also, knock on wood, I hope he doesn't), he's afforded some financial protection in what is otherwise a very unstable market for athletes in search of security.

Now, here are 5 reasons why the Bengals need to pay him as soon as possible

1. He apparently likes Spongebob Squarepants, as demonstrated by his Twitter header image

Who doesn't love Spongebob?

2. He uses his platform to do good for others.

Burrow started the Joe Burrow Foundation in October 2022. His goal? To help support those affected by food insecurity and childhood mental health in Ohio and Louisiana (Burrow's home state and college state, respectively).

His willingness to give back was most recently highlighted in a fundraising contest between the two locales, where the Joe Burrow Foundation raised over $65,000. Cincinnati and Baton Rouge competed to see who would sell more merch for the cause, with Cincy "winning" on the heels of 2,804 pieces of merch sold.

WCPO 9 News quotes Burrow, "While it's fun to compete, and Cincinnati has earned bragging rights, the true winners are the children and families served through our foundation."

3. Joe Burrow is Ohio born and bred.

So am I, Kate Magdziuk, the writer of this article! Go Ohio!

4. Oh, he's also, like, really good.

Joe Burrow is the only quarterback in NFL history to exceed 10,000 pass yards in their first three seasons while maintaining a completion rate above 65% and a passer rating above 100. Seriously. He's the only one who's ever done it. That's impressive.

Over the last two regular seasons, Burrow has:

  • 9,086 passing yards (4th)

  • 104.2 passer rating (1st)

  • 69 passing touchdowns (3rd)

  • 113 completions of 20+ yards (4th)

  • Back-to-back trips to the playoffs

*(Ranks among QBs with 200 or more pass attempts)

5. He's just got swagger. There's no other way to explain the vibes.

As much as I hate second-hand smoke, I do love Joe Burrow. Please pay him accordingly, Cincinnati Bengals.

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