Vontaze Burfict was one of the best values in the NFL during the 2013 season, as he made just $480,333 yet was a second-team All-Pro selection. On Wednesday the Cincinnati Bengals remedied that situation, as the two sides agreed to a four-year, $20 million contract through the 2017 season.
Burfict will make $7.6 million this year and an average of $5 million annually thanks to the new deal, so it’s a good contract for both sides.
The 23-year-old linebacker went undrafted out of Arizona State thanks to a litany of questions about his character arose. There was never a question about his talent, but his volatile personality on and off the field were a huge issue. But he has kept his nose clean since the Bengals signed him and in 2013 he led the NFL in tackles with 171 and was one of the league’s best 4-3 linebackers.
Burfict was entering the final season of his three-year rookie contract, and a restricted free agent tender would have cost the Bengals $3.3 million in 2015.
At 6-1 and 248 pounds, Burfict is almost a perfect specimen to be a weak side linebacker in the 4-3. Marvin Lewis has to love having this guy around in his defense. Now that he has proven himself on the field and gotten his first big contract, the Bengals have to hope that he repays their faith in him by staying clean off the field.
Cincinnati had to make this deal happen before the season. There was no way the Bengals wanted to have these negotiations lingering over the team during the year.