The Bengals have inked one of their core defensive players a few days before their opener against the Ravens, as the team inked linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a 3-year $38.68m extension.
Cincinnati is young on defense, one of the reasons they are 50/1 to win the Super Bowl in February, this according to most sports books like sport.netbet.co.uk.
Back to Burfict, a big season from their defensive leader would mean a lot to this unit, which lost players this last offseason after a lackluster 2016.
As far as the extension, it will pay the linebacker $38.68 million and includes a $3.3 million signing bonus. Burfict also will receive an additional $7 million this season, Rapoport reported.
“Vontaze is still one of the young, emerging talents within the league,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. “We have worked hard at training, developing and retaining talented players. It’s pleasing that Vontaze has made this commitment to be a part of the organization going forward. It was important to reach an extension before the start of the season and we look forward to having Vontaze back with the team in a few weeks.”
How big is it for the Bengals to have Burfict on the field? Figure that over the last two seasons, the Bengals are 10-10 (18.8 points per game allowed) with Burfict and 3-8 (19.9 PPG against) without him, per NFL Research.
The extension for the Bengals defensive leader is one of two the Bengals have been preparing for this season. The other is for tight end Tyler Eifert, a 2013 first-round pick who is in the final season of his rookie contract.
The 26-year-old was originally signed by the Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Arizona State in 2012. He was named to the Pro Bowl after the 2013 season after leading the NFL with 171 combined tackles.
While he’s had his share of issues when it comes to legal play according to the standards of the NFL, this is a very solid move for the Bengals, and one they needed to do in order to make sure they keep him around this defense for a long time to come.
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