Burrow quiet about contract talks as minicamp opens

Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2023

CINCINNATI (AP) — The question isn’t if Joe Burrow will be among the NFL’s highest-paid players.

The question is when.

The 2022 Pro Bowler and 2021 AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year is in negotiations with the Cincinnati Bengals on a long-term contract extension. After the Bengals ended their first practice of mandatory minicamp Tuesday, the franchise’s quarterback had no desire to provide an update to reporters on those contract talks.

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“I think I’ve given you guys all the information that I’m comfortable with sharing about that process,” he said. “As far as questions go about that, probably save that for another time.”

Cincinnati picked up Burrow’s fifth-year option in April. So, at the very least, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft is under contract through the 2024 season.

In the meantime, Burrow said his goals are simple. He wants to win the Super Bowl and he wants to supplant Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the “best in the world.”

“I don’t think there’s any argument right now. It’s Pat,” Burrow said of who is the game’s best. “Until someone has a better year than he’s had, he’s the one to knock off.”

Mahomes won his second league MVP last season before winning his second Super Bowl in four years. He also won his second Super Bowl MVP. Mahomes’ Chiefs defeated Burrow’s Bengals in the AFC title game.

The Bengals are still in search of the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory. Burrow said the urgency to finally win it this season is high.

“We’ve been there, done that,” said Burrow, whose Bengals defeated Mahomes and the Chiefs two seasons ago for the AFC title before losing to the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl.

“Now, it’s time to take that next step. I wouldn’t say there’s extra motivation because we’re motivated every game, every day, every year. But I would say the urgency has risen in that locker room.”

Cincinnati finished 12-4 last season, winning the AFC North for the second straight year. Burrow, who set franchise single-season records for completions, pass attempts and passing touchdowns in 2022, said the Bengals are already further along than they were at this point last offseason.

“All of our guys on offense have been in the system except for two or three guys,” he said. “They’re learning it, but we’re not really slowing down for anybody. Those guys have done a great job of getting up to our speed for guys that are brand new.

“There’s just little things here and there. But when you’ve been in the system for four years now, you can talk with some guys about things that are very unique. Minor details that maybe you haven’t been able to talk about in years past.”

One of those players who has been around a while is Jonah Williams. The offensive tackle returned to the facility for mandatory minicamp after undergoing offseason knee surgery and spending time with his newborn daughter.

“It’s good to have him back,” Burrow said. “Whenever someone has business going on, it’s always nice to get them back around the guys and see their face.”

Williams did not attend the team’s voluntary offseason workouts. Williams requested a trade earlier in the offseason after the Bengals signed left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency.

Williams lined up at left tackle for the Bengals in all of his 47 career starts (42 in the regular season).

“The main issue for me was the way that I found out, the way that the communication happened,” Williams said. “Because I was sitting on my couch, my fiancée’s 40 weeks pregnant, her due date was in — I want to say — three days, I’m rehabbing my knee and I find out that we signed Orlando on my phone.”

Williams said he still hasn’t had any communication with Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin or anyone else in the front office about the team’s decision to replace him at left tackle.

“It was never left tackle, right tackle,” Williams said. “I know a lot of people made it out to be that. It wasn’t that. There’s 64 tackle spots in the league. To have any of them is a crazy, amazing opportunity, and I’m super grateful for the chance. So if the plan is to play me at right tackle, I’m fired up to do it. Let’s go. I’m working (out) my knee. I think I’m going to be cleared soon.”

Williams, who was drafted 11th overall by the Bengals in 2019, said he hasn’t played right tackle since his freshman year at Alabama.

“I’m under contract,” he said. “I’m going to show up, I’m going to play my (butt) off and I’m going to grind because that’s what I do.”