Bengals QB Joe Burrow has teammates in mind amid contract talks

CINCINNATI -- Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow remained tight-lipped about his ongoing contract negotiations.

But he did clarify a few points Tuesday in his first media availability since the end of the 2022 season. The Cincinnati star knows exactly what he's looking for in his next deal, which could make him the highest-paid player in the league.

As he goes through talks with the Bengals, Burrow said he's keeping teammates who could also receive contract extensions in consideration.

"Whenever you have guys on the team that need to be paid, that's always on your mind," Burrow said. "You want that to be a focal point. We're working to make that happen."

Burrow delivered his comments one day after the Bengals started phase two of team workouts. Many of the team's projected starters, including wide receivers Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase, were present inside the team's indoor practice bubble.

Higgins, the team's second-round pick in the 2020 draft, is also eligible for an extension as he enters his fourth season. The former Clemson standout amassed 3,028 receiving yards in his first three seasons.

The receiver shot down rumors floating online that a contract was in place. He added that Burrow's comments indicate what has been discussed between them privately -- the quarterback wants to keep the core intact for as many years as possible.

"We talk about staying together for the long run," Higgins said. "Hopefully we can do that and get something negotiated to where they can keep all three of us."

Chase, the 2021 Associated Press Rookie of the Year and two-time Pro Bowl selection, said Burrow's comments illustrate what kind of quarterback he is.

"He knows what he has to do to win and he wants to win," said Chase, who will not be eligible for a new deal until next offseason. "He's a winning guy. He's not a quarterback that's always interested in money and all that other stuff. He just wants to win, and that's the big thing about Joe."

The Bengals have done a lot of winning since they drafted Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 draft. After a knee injury ended his rookie season, Burrow was named the league's Comeback Player of the Year in 2021. Cincinnati won its first playoff game since January 1991 and reached the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 seasons, losing to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI.

A loss to Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game last season kept Cincinnati from making a repeat trip to the NFL's biggest game. In the 23-20 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champs, Higgins and Chase accounted for 14 of Burrow's 26 total completions and combined for 158 receiving yards and a touchdown.

"You got to have good players," Burrow said when asked if that game is an example of why he's keeping them top of mind. "It doesn't matter how good your quarterback is. If you don't have good players around him, you're not going to be a very good team."