Joe Burrow’s $275 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in the 11th hour before the 2023 season kickoff made him the fourth quarterback this offseason to earn the title of the NFL highest-paid player.
Burrow’s five-year extension will pay him $55 million per year, the highest average annual salary for any player in the league, keeping him from free agency until 2030. His deal followed five-year extensions signed this offseason by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts ($51M AAV), Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson ($52M AAV), and Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert ($52.5M) that all held the short-lived titles of being the NFL’s highest-paid player.
Burrow, 26, follows a trend of NFL stars signing extensions before they hit the open market. While this can be particularly lucrative for franchise quarterbacks more than other positions, NFL player agent Blake Baratz told Front Office Sports in June that the league’s controversial franchise tag prevented players from reaching free agency.
“Getting to free agency in the NFL is the hardest thing to do. None of the good players get to free agency,” Baratz said. “Saquon Barkley can’t get there, Davante Adams never got there, Patrick Mahomes isn’t getting there. Josh Allen isn’t getting there. Justin Herbert’s not gonna get there, Joe Burrow’s not gonna get there. It’s hard to get to free agency when you have a mechanism to keep a player at a fraction of their value. Lamar Jackson was the unanimous MVP and couldn’t get there.”
Despite Burrow having the NFL’s new highest average annual salary, his contract falls short of another star in total contract value. Here are the NFL’s top ten highest-paid quarterbacks by total contract. Data was compiled from Spotrac.
|1||Patrick Mahomes||Chiefs||$450M 10|
|2||Joe Burrow||Bengals||$275M 5|
|3||Justin Herbert||Chargers||$262.5M 5|
|4||Lamar Jackson||Ravens||$260M 5|
|5||Josh Allen||Bills||$258M 6|
|6||Jalen Hurts||Eagles||$255M 5|
|7||Russell Wilson||Broncos||$242.5M 5|
|8||Kyler Murray||Cardinals||$230.5M 5|
|9||Deshaun Watson||Browns||$230M 5|
|10||Dak Prescott (tied)||Cowboys||$160M 4|
|10||Matthew Stafford (tied)||Rams||$160M 4|
|10||Daniel Jones (tied)||Giants||$160M 4|