Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders

Joe Burrow’s rookie contract falls well short of JaMarcus Russell’s rookie contract

Joe Burrow’s contract pales in comparison to JaMarcus Russell’s deal with the Raiders.

Cincinnati Bengals fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as Joe Burrow has agreed to a $36 million deal that officially confirms him as the future of the franchise. Ever since the introduction of the rookie pay scale in the new CBA, it’s the most expensive deal to date.

Burrow’s deal isn’t the most financially restricting one ever given to an LSU quarterback picked No. 1 overall, however, as the Oakland Raiders famously gave all-time draft bust JaMarcus Russell a $61 million deal with $32 million guaranteed after his final season in Baton Rouge.

Joe Burrow should have a better pro career than JaMarcus Russell.

Russell, a 265-pound quarterback with tremendous athletic ability and the strongest arm scouts had seen in years, was picked first overall in 2007, and he was out of the league after the 2009 season. Not only did he throw just 18 touchdowns against 23 interceptions, but his time in Oakland was full of apocryphal tales of his poor work ethic. The most noteworthy one, confirmed by teammate and former linebacker Kirk Morrison, was him telling coaches he studied offensive plays after watching a DVD they sent him home with. The DVD was blank.

Not only is Burrow more motivated, but he was a more productive player in college and is heading to an offense that has more pieces around him in Cincinnati than Russell had in Oakland.

Burrow should be a much better pro than Russell. In addition to how certain traits, like pocket presence and accuracy, are better than Russell possessed, Burrow appears driven and committed to his craft, while Russell was just happy being good. If hell freezes over and Burrow doesn’t work out in Cincinnati, they can take solace in the fact that they won’t have to pay him $61 million.

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