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Joe Burrow spoke publicly about his contract situation for the first time on May 16 as he and the Cincinnati Bengals are working toward an extension for the Pro Bowl quarterback.

"I'm involved," Burrow said regarding contract talks with the team. "It's in the works. It's not really something I like to play out in the media. That's just the way I think they want to do business, [how] I want to do business. We prefer to keep that between us."   

Burrow is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but it seems like a forgone conclusion that he will sign a long-term extension with the Bengals before Cincinnati kicks off the regular season against the Browns on Sept. 10. The team confirmed as much by what director of player personnel Duke Tobin had to say Thursday about how the contract negotiations are going.

"Joe Burrow will be paid well, and he's earned it," Tobin said on the "Pat McAfee Show" Thursday. "He's great to work with and we know we'll get a deal worked out."

Burrow was asked if it matters to him how the contract is constructed. One option is the Patrick Mahomes route and signing a longer-term deal that could include roughly $500 million over the length of the deal. The other option would be to mimic the deals that Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson recently signed this offseason. Both players signed five-year extensions that will pay them an average of just over $50 million per season. Both deals also included a significant amount of guaranteed money ($185 million for Jackson and $179 million for Hurts in the event of an injury). 

"I think there's a lot of different ways it can work out," Burrow said. "We'll see how it plays out." 

Burrow's projected market value is a six-year deal that would pay him an average of nearly $54 million per season, according to Spotrac. That deal would make Burrow the league's highest-paid quarterback from an annual salary standpoint. 

Because of Hurts and Jackson's extensions, Burrow's market value has risen about $7 million this offseason as far as his annual salary is concerned. While Burrow will be paid among the league's highest-paid players, there is a thought that Burrow may leave some money on the table in order to help the Bengals retain other key players, most notably receivers Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins

After Burrow, Bengals owner Mike Brown has already said that the team is prioritizing the contracts of the team's top receivers. In order to save cap space, the Bengals allowed safeties Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates III to sign elsewhere in free agency. Second-year safety Daxton Hill and free agent signee Nick Scott are slated to replace both players in the starting lineup. 

In the draft, Cincinnati prepared for the future when it drafted defensive end Myles Murphy in the first round. Along with providing depth this season, Murphy was selected to give the Bengals more flexibility in the event that they lose either Trey Hendrickson or Sam Hubbard when their contracts expire. 

"Whenever you have guys on the team that need to be paid, that's always on your mind," Burrow said. "You want that to be a focal point. We're working to make that happen." 

Joe Burrow
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Burrow knows what it's like to play on title-contending teams. He played in a state championship game while quarterbacking for Athens High. In 2019, Burrow led the LSU Tigers to a perfect season that culminated with a blowout win over Clemson in the College Football Championship. Two years later, Burrow had the Bengals on the cusp of winning the franchise's first Super Bowl. Cincinnati followed their AFC Championship season up by nearly making it back to the big game in 2022. 

"You've got to have to good players," Burrow said. "Doesn't matter how good your quarterback is if you don't have good players around him. You're not going to have a good team." 

Unlike other quarterbacks, there has been nothing leaked as far as what Burrow wants in his new deal. But while the public is being kept in the dark, Burrow said that he and the Bengals are on the same page, which at the end of the day is really all that matters. 

"I'm pretty clear on what I want in the contract and what I think is best for myself and the team," Burrow said. "We're on the road to making that happen."