CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals exercised the fifth-year contract option for star quarterback Joe Burrow on Tuesday as they move toward signing him to a long-term deal.
The Bengals said in a statement that they took the “mechanical step” with Burrow and his representatives, who have had talks with the team about his future.
NFL teams had until May 2 to exercise fifth-year options for first-round picks in the 2020 class, and Burrow, the first player taken that year, has already proven to be worth any extra financial investment.
Since bouncing back from a season-ending knee injury as a rookie, Burrow has gone 20-10 as a starter while leading the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance in 2022. The 26-year-old has passed for more than 4,400 yards in each of the past two seasons with 69 touchdown passes.
Burrow made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season and led the Bengals back to the AFC title game, where they lost a rematch against Kansas City.
It’s possible Burrow’s new deal could eclipse the record-setting package Philadelphia recently gave quarterback Jalen Hurts, who got a five-year, $255 million contract that included $179 million guaranteed.
Burrow began his college career at Ohio State before transferring to LSU and leading the Tigers to a national championship. The Bengals selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.