By: Nadia Liu
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa agreed to contract extensions that make them the highest paid players of their respective positions. Both deals were signed just in time for the start of the 2023 NFL season, which began on Sept. 7.
Burrow finalized his record-breaking contract on Saturday, Sept. 9. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the five-year deal is worth up to 275 million dollars, with 219.01 million dollars guaranteed. Drafted to the Bengals as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, Burrow has led the team to two straight AFC North titles and a Super Bowl following the 2021 season, when he won Comeback Player of the Year. The contract pays Burrow 55 million dollars a year, surpassing Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert’s 52.5 million and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s 52 million.
After Burrow signed the deal, he set his sights on the new season: “You take a deep breath, celebrate for about five minutes, and then you continue about your weekly process. It’s game week, so you got to get ready to play.” With their quarterback secured for the next five years, Cincinnati’s next priority is locking up wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, who is extension-eligible next offseason, and Tee Higgins, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Niners wideout Nick Bosa also entered into a record-breaking contract following a lengthy holdout that ended just four days before the start of the season. The contract extension is worth 170 million dollars over five years, with 122.5 million guaranteed. The deal comes out to 34 million dollars per season, making the former No. 2 pick the highest paid non-quarterback in NFL history. The annual payout surpasses the previous highest salaries of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s 31.7 million dollars and Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt’s 28 million. According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, “Five teams actually called the 49ers, trying to trade for Bosa, thinking that deal wasn’t going to get done. Obviously the door slammed in their face.” Regarding Bosa’s six-week holdout, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan stated, “I thought it would come to fruition sometime last week, and it didn’t. It made me nervous, made me kind of move on with it. But we all knew Nick would get rewarded like he did.”
In Bosa’s three healthy seasons, San Francisco ranks third in least points allowed, second in least yards per play allowed, fourth in sacks and tied for sixth in takeaways. Last season saw the reigning Defensive Player of the Year rack up 48 quarterback hits, 19 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks, warranting the large payout. “I’m sure everybody knows how he makes everybody’s life easier, not just me, being one of the most dominant defensive players in the league, in the run and pass game,” linebacker Fred Warner commented. “He’s the most complete player on the edge. That clears a lot of things up for me.”
(Sources: AP News, ESPN, Forbes, The Guardian)