Bengals’ Joe Burrow is BENCHED during dismal performance vs. Browns just days after inking record $275m deal to become NFL’s highest-paid star
Joe Burrow became the NFL’s highest-paid player on Friday, though, two days later, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback was benched in his team’s opening game of the season.
After struggling to grip the football on a wet day in Cleveland, the 26-year-old took a seat during the fourth quarter of the Bengals’ 24-3 loss to the Browns in what was the 100th meeting between the two Buckeye State rivals.
It’s currently unclear if Cincinnati’s head coach Zac Taylor made the decision to insert backup Jake Browning due to an injury sustained by Burrow. The former LSU star strained his calf during training camp and was largely inactive this preseason before taking the field against the Browns on Sunday.
On Friday, the former No. 1 draft pick inked a five-year extension worth up to $275 million with $219M guaranteed.
Remarkably, the deal gives Burrow a record-breaking $55M average annual salary.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow (L) was benched in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Browns
By the time he left the field, Burrow had only thrown 31 attempts for 14 completions and no TDs
‘I have always been pretty good at compartmentalizing things that are important to me,’ said Burrow at a press conference on Saturday, insisting that negotiations for his big, recent payday weren’t a distracted ahead of the Bengals’ first game of the 2023-24 NFL season.
‘I work really hard to perform well on the field and think a lot about how I handle myself and how I can be the best me for this organization,’ Burrow added. ‘ So to be rewarded for it means a lot to me — but (there’s) a lot more to do.’
Burrow, who entered his fourth NFL season on Sunday, has reversed the Bengals’ fortunes while earning a reputation as a decisive and creative leader with a knack for figuring out how to pick up yards when plays break down.
He has led Cincinnati to two straight AFC North titles and a Super Bowl appearance following the 2021 season.
Burrow has been by bothered by a calf strain during most of the offseason, liming his ability to train as much as he’d want to
Signing the 2022 Pro Bowler and 2021 AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year to an extension was a goal of the team all summer, and Burrow didn’t waver from his desire to spend the rest of his career in Cincinnati.
‘A very well-deserved day for Joe,’ Bengals coach Zac Taylor said prior to Sunday’s loss to Cleveland. ‘He’s a guy who represented everything we want to be about. It’s on the field as a football player, it’s off the field in the locker room, it’s in the classroom as a student of the game.’
Burrow, who’s been sidelined with a nagging calf injury for most of the summer, only returned to practice last week.
He threw 31 attempts for 14 completions (45.2 percent) and no touchdowns against the Browns on Sunday. What’s more, is that Cincinnati’s No. 9 only threw for 82 passing yards.
The Bengals next face the Ravens in what will be their first home game of the season on September 17. Fans will be hoping to see a change for fortunes for Burrow, who will normally feature in the team’s next matchup.