Let’s start with Burrow who signed an eye-opening five-year, $275 million deal that will keep him under contract through the 2029 NFL season.
In announcing the record-breaking contract extension, the Bengals organization is not only celebrating their franchise QB by making him the NFL’s highest-paid player, but they are also showing fans their commitment to winning over the next several years and Burrow couldn’t be happier.
"“Means a lot,” Burrow said in a press conference Saturday. “I work really hard to perform well on the field and think a lot about how I handle myself and how I can be the best me for this organization. And so to be rewarded for that, it means a lot to me. But, a lot more to do.”"
NFL news: Bengals make a statement with Joe Burrow contract
That last statement should make Bengals fans happy as the young quarterback has led the team to back-to-back AFC championship games and a Super Bowl over the last two seasons and has shown his MVP value in the process. Burrow has thrown for over 11,774 yards with 82 touchdowns in his first three seasons and has shown that clutch factor while doing it.
Young quarterbacks with high expectations have put up the stats, but it is what Burrow does from a leadership standpoint that makes him one of the faces of the NFL at the quarterback position. As worthy as Burrow is of the contract, it might come at a price. Wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Higgins stand out as one of the two wide receiver duos in the NFL, but could Burrow lose one of his weapons?
NFL rumors: Tee Higgins, Bengals can’t get a deal done
With Burrow getting that kind of money, it would be hard for the Bengals to lock up both Chase and Higgins long-term for what both of those players are expected to be worth. That probably makes Higgins the odd man out long term.
According to NFL insider Jordan Schultz, Higgins will enter Week 1 without a contract extension as the two sides were unable to get something down ahead of the season opener. That means Higgins will seek a long-term deal next offseason.
While that doesn’t take the Bengals out of the running, other NFL teams will have an opportunity to throw the bag at Higgins who is emerging as one of the top young receivers in the league even with Chase on the other side.
Coming off back-to-back 1,000-plus yard receiving seasons, Higgins has proved his worth to the team, but again, with Burrow’s extension and Chase also nearing an extension, the Bengals have to make some business decisions to keep a competitive team around Joe Burrow.
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Earlier in the summer, running back Joe Mixon took a team discount to remain in Cincinnati. It’s highly unexpected Higgins will do something similar once his contract is up which already have teams around the NFL salivating on a way to obtain the star.
More NFL rumors: Mike Evans enter last season in Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Mike Evans is in a similar situation as Higgins.
Evans, who was also seeking a contract extension to end his career in a Buccaneers’ uniform, was unable to come to a contract agreement with the team prior to the Week 1 deadline. That also makes Evans a player NFL teams will anticipate being available next offseason or perhaps by the NFL Trade Deadline depending on the status of the team.
The four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is coming off a season in which he caught 77 receptions for 1,124 yards showing he is still one of the top receivers in the NFL. Like Higgins, Evans will have his suitors.
The question for Evans is will he make it through the season in Tampa Bay or will another team swoop in to land his services during the 2023 NFL season.