Another day, another dollar (plus or minus a few million) in the NFL. Once again, the quarterback market has been turned on its head as Justin Herbert has become the latest signal-caller to enter the $50 million-a-year club. The Chargers star has worth $262.5 million, making him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL.
Herbert's deal pays him an average annual salary of $52.5 million, which surpasses two deals that were inked earlier this offseason by Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts and, more recently, Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. Jackson's five-year, $260 million extension will pay him a record $52 million per season, putting him just ahead of Hurts ($51 million) and new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($50.271 million). However, they're all now looking up to Herbert.
Of course, the QB ATM isn't expected to slow down anytime soon as Bengals superstar Joe Burrow is also eligible for an extension. Here's how the deals from Jackson, Hurts, and now Herbert could impact things at the negotiating table between Burrow and the Bengals.
There's a general thought in Cincinnati that Burrow will give the Bengals somewhat of a hometown discount in order to help retain some of the team's other top players, most notably wideout Tee Higgins. The Bengals also have to account for Ja'Marr Chase's upcoming extension that won't be cheap, either.
Prior to Jackson's deal that came down in April, Burrow's calculated market value was six years with an average annual salary of $48.150 million, according to Spotrac. However, the floor has since risen with Jackson, Hurts and Herbert all now exceeding $50 million per season. Now, Burrow's projected market value, via Spotrac, sits at $53.7 million, which would once again reset the market.
Again, Burrow could still go the Tom Brady route while prioritizing winning over money. But these new deals still up Burrow's value and what he can ask for in an extension. Burrow would essentially still be taking a discount if he accepted a deal that simply pays him $50 million annually. Asking him to take much less than that is a risk the Bengals' should not be willing to take. If Burrow takes less total money, the Bengals could make it up to him in the form of guaranteed money. If he isn't the league's highest-paid player, having more guaranteed money that his peers (not named Deshaun Watson) wouldn't be a bad consolation prize.
Cincinnati is 24-17-1 with Burrow under center since drafting him No. 1 overall in 2020 out of LSU. That record is even better if you exclude his rookie year where Cincinnati went 2-7-1. Under Burrow, the Bengals are 22-10 over the last two seasons and have reached the AFC Championship twice and the Super Bowl once. Given that he perennially has them in legitimate championship contention, he could -- and likely will -- command another record-setting deal.