The Bengals have reportedly signed Vontaze Burfict to a four-year extension worth $20 million.
LB Vontaze Burfict’s extension with Bengals is a four-year, $20 million deal, including $7.6 million this year.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 20, 2014
This continues a trend by the Bengals of signing their core players during the off-season. It also continues the Bengals’ trend of signing their core players rather than watching these players walk away for lucrative deals elsewhere. Earlier this off-season owner Mike Brown admitted that his daughter, Katie Blackburn and head coach Marvin Lewis run the franchise. Since Brown has relinquished some of his duties to these more capable minds, the franchise has experienced a serious turnaround compared to the days prior to 2011 when the franchise seemed lost.
Since those days, the Bengals have resigned several key players such as Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Andy Dalton, and now Vontaze Burfict. Their drafting has markedly improved also, which has allowed the team to become consistently competitive, something the franchise has never been. Locking up Burfict for another four years will help continue that trend. Burfict led the league in tackles last year with 171 total en route to his first Pro-Bowl appearance. Burfict is the heart and soul of the Bengals defense and 2014 should be another career year for the young leader. The Bengals should continue their upward trend as Burfict continues his.
Next up on the Bengals “to sign” list will be All-Pro receiver A.J. Green. The Bengals have him locked up for the 2015 season already after exercising the fifth year option on his rookie deal. The Bengals have mentioned the ability to use the franchise tag on Green if a deal isn’t reached, but I’d expect this to be avoided for a couple reasons. First, the Bengals clearly possess the negotiating and financial management abilities needed to retain their talent evidenced by all their recent resignings. More importantly, getting a deal done in short order will allow the Bengals to have a better understanding of their financial situation going forward. They may also be able to get Green at a comparatively cheaper price than they assumedly would in one to two years as the league’s salary cap is expected to see a spike. Also to consider is how his market value is effected as older receivers such as Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson, who have already signed their long-term deals and are the highest paid receivers in the league, continue to move into the latter stages of their respective “primes.” These two are probably the only two who could arguably deserve a higher salary than Green and as they age, Green’s argument for a larger deal only becomes stronger.
Keep it up Bengals, we fans our enjoying the new business model.