Joe Burrow must decide if he will go the route of Tom Brady to try to win championships or if he will take all the money he has rightfully earned as the face of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise.
With Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson getting paid, that means Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert will be the next two quarterbacks getting big money for the first time.
It will probably end up being a game of chicken between the two cheapest franchises the AFC has ever seen. The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers will always jump over a dollar to pick up a penny. It is why despite having a plethora of talent over the years, neither franchise has won a Super Bowl. Tom Brady won six playing in the same conference over the course of 20 seasons.
In Lindsey Thiry’s breakdown of what it takes to build and sustain a winner around expensive quarterbacks for ESPN, we ask ourselves does it serve Burrow to take a hometown discount to give the Bengals a break or should he break the bank and take all the money the market says he is entitled to? Clearly, it is a case-by-case basis, but here is why that is so complicated for Cincinnati.
Let’s take a look at what pathway Burrow should go down financially in his blossoming NFL career.
Pros of Joe Burrow taking page out of Tom Brady playbook to win championships
From a purely financial perspective, it makes sense for Burrow to take one team-friendly deal after another in Cincinnati so that he can be surrounded with the most amount of talent possible. Not every quality player the Bengals draft will be retained in this exercise, but more and more players will get to play the bulk of their primes in Cincinnati. They can also take part in free agency.
If Burrow were to take less and more importantly, take fewer guaranteed years on the contract, he can re-enter the contract negotiation fray to get even more money. Of course, this is contingent on him remaining a top-five player at his position in the league. Since his final season at LSU, that has been Burrow to a T for the most part. He is cool, confident and can conceivably bet on himself.
Burrow presumably taking less helps reinforce a standard of the team before me in Cincinnati. That ethos could prevail over the better part of the next two decades, assuming Burrow remains The Geauxt for the Bengals. Since Cincinnati is very much a mom-and-pop shop operation, loyalty goes a long way with The Brown-Blackburn Family. It could also lead to a less combative relationship.
In theory, this is probably the right way to go, but theories don’t win championships; the stars do.