Given his under-the-radar persona, it's no surprise that Joe Burrow and the Bengals have mutually agreed to keep their contract talks close to the vest. The Bengals and Burrow's reps have agreed on a "vow of silence" as the two sides work toward a long-term deal for Cincinnati's Pro Bowl quarterback.
Given their pact, don't expect any leaks to come out regarding Burrow's contract. Furthermore, don't be surprised if an extension for Burrow is announced without much of a heads-up.
"I don't know the pace but we hope that there's something that can get done," Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn said from the NFL Annual League Meeting, via the team's website. "We sort of said we won't talk about it much until there's something to talk about."
Blackburn added that the two sides have had preliminary talks on an extension. Burrow has one year remaining on his rookie contract that will carry an $11.5M cap hit in 2023. He's set to become a free agent in 2025, but is expected to receive a long-term extension before the start of the 2023 season.
The 2022 season was a highly successful one for Burrow, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl after helping the Bengals match the franchise record of 12 regular-season wins. He helped the Bengals win eight consecutive games after the team slogged to a 4-4 start. Burrow was one of five finalists for the 2022 MVP award.
"Fortunately, I don't have to put that on paper, in terms of what that is," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said of Burrow earlier this offseason when asked about the quarterback's value, via Pro Football Talk. "That's just the business we're in right now. He's everything we want to be about. He's a hard worker. He cares about his teammates. He cares about where he's from -- Ohio. This fanbase, I think he represents us the right way.
"And so, we take a lot of pride in having Joe Burrow as our quarterback."
Prior to the start of the playoffs, Burrow was open about his desire to play long term for the Bengals. An Ohio native, Burrow played college football at nearby Ohio State before winning the Heisman Trophy and a national title at LSU.
"My plan is to be here my whole career," Burrow said during an interview with NBC Sports' Maria Taylor. "Hopefully, Zac [Taylor] is here my whole career, and hopefully a lot of our guys are around for as long as my career as they can be.
"I have a lot of confidence in the front office doing their jobs in the offseason. We've drafted well. We've brought in great free agents. We've claimed guys off waivers that have really made an impact on our team. I think we have one of the best front offices in the league.
"Zac, in my opinion, is the best coach in the league. So that gives me a lot of confidence to go out there and say that."
Burrow will certainly be compensated as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, but it appears that he will do his part in making sure the Bengals can keep as much as their core together as possible. He will likely mimic the Tom Brady approach to contracts, an approach that has helped Brady become the most successful player in league history.
Along with Burrow, the Bengals' intent is to keep their receiving corps in the fold for the foreseeable future. That includes second-year phenom Ja'Marr Chase and third-year veteran Tee Higgins. The Bengals further added to their roster during free agency by signing left tackle Orlando Brown to a long-term deal. Cincinnati also re-signed linebacker Germaine Pratt, who has been an integral part of the team's defense over the past several years.
While details regarding Burrow's extension will likely be hard to come by, reports have already surfaced when it comes to Justin Herbert's possible extension. It was reportedly reported that the Chargers quarterback -- who was selected five spots after Burrow in the 2020 NFL Draft -- will likely receive an extension that will make him the second quarterback in NFL history to make over $50 million annually.
It will be interesting to see if Burrow will want a similar contract, or if he will instead be content making slightly less money but being on a team that continues to compete for championships.