Bengals QB Joe Burrow signs his record NFL contract

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Field Level Media
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow speaks Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Paycor Stadium after signing his record-setting contract. Burrow became the highest-paid player in NFL history on an annual basis at $55 million per year.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow speaks Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Paycor Stadium after signing his record-setting contract. Burrow became the highest-paid player in NFL history on an annual basis at $55 million per year.
Image: Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Joe Burrow put the pen to paper on Saturday as the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback signed the richest-ever NFL contract.

The Bengals confirmed reports that the deal is for five years and $275 million. Spotrac lists the contract with $219 million in guaranteed money.

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The Bengals made Burrow, from Athens, Ohio, the No. 1 overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft.

"My father always said that in the NFL, the quarterback is like the key to your car," said Bengals president Mike Brown, whose father was the legendary coach Paul Brown. "You can have a great car, but you need a key to get the car going and to operate it at a high level. We feel that we have a good one in Joe."

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The contract extension kicks in with the 2025 season and runs through 2029. He will earn $5.5 million this season in the final year of his four-year rookie deal and $29.5M in 2024 on his fifth-year option.

Head coach Zac Taylor said Burrow, a fourth-year captain, is the right quarterback for his team.

"Quarterback is the most critical position in sports, and Joe has embraced his role here with intelligence and determination," Taylor said. "The team responds to Joe as our quarterback, and we look forward to a bright future with Joe continuing to lead our talented roster. He makes everyone better."

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Burrow was on the roster at Ohio State for three years before transferring to LSU, where he won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship. The fact that he has found his success in Ohio is significant, he said Saturday.

"I had some unfinished business in Ohio. My one athletic failing so far, in my opinion, is my time at Ohio State," he said, wearing his Athens High School football sweatshirt. "I didn't get to play. So to come back and kind of redeem myself in that way has been important to me."

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Burrow has started 42 career regular-season games for the Bengals and already has single-season franchise records for passing attempts (606 in 2022), completions (414 in 2022), passing yards (4,611 in 2021), touchdown passes (35 in 2022), and passer rating (108.3 in 2021). Among NFL quarterbacks with a minimum of 1,500 career pass attempts, he is the leader in completion percentage with 68.2.

He also led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl since 1989 following the 2021 season, a 23-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI.

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Burrow, 26, strained his calf early in training camp and missed a month of practice and all three preseason games before returning last week. Taylor said Burrow will start the season opener on Sunday against the Browns in Cleveland.

—Field Level Media