The Cincinnati Bengals made the least-shocking move of the offseason by picking up Joe Burrow's fifth-year option. First-round picks are signed to four-year rookie deals and the teams that drafted them are eligible to pick up a fifth-year option after the third season.
Since Burrow has now played three seasons in the stripes, he was eligible to have his fifth-year option picked up and the Bengals did just that. It was a no-brainer decision but some fans might be a bit panicked by it if they don't know the ins and outs of everything. Why would they do this but not extend him? We all know some casual fans that are probably asking this question right now.
The Bengals themselves described this as "a mechanical step along the way" toward an eventual extension for the former LSU signal-caller. In other words, this is the first step toward getting Burrow signed to a long-term deal and keeping him in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future.
Bengals pick up Burrow's fifth-year option
The Bengals spent the first overall pick on Burrow in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was coming off a prolific performance at LSU in 2019 that saw him win the Heisman Trophy, hoist a championship trophy, and then become the top pick in the following draft.
While Burrow's rookie season wasn't what we all hoped it'd be, he showed us that he was indeed worthy of being the top pick the very next when he led the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance. No one was expecting the Bengals to do much that year but Burrow helped make the team a contender.
Burrow and the Bengals showed it wasn't a fluke the next year when the team made it back to the AFC Championship Game. They might have lost that one but the back-to-back AFC Championship appearances have made one thing crystal clear: As long as Joey B is the quarterback in Cincinnati, this team isn't going anywhere.
Hopefully, we see an extension get done for Burrow soon but this fifth-year option ensures that he won't hit free agency if a deal isn't done before next spring.