Now, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are poised to cash in next. In fact, in the wake of Hurts’ record-breaking deal, both should receive an even bigger bag. Why? Well, let’s start with the Cincinnati Bengals signal-caller.
While Hurts is fresh off a breakout season, Burrow has more of a track record of sustained excellence — shoot, going back to his Heisman Trophy/national championship senior season at LSU, which catapulted him into being the No. 1 overall pick in 2020. Burrow showed plenty of promise in his rookie campaign prior to a season-ending knee injury, but he has lifted his game — and the Bengals — to another level over the past two years. Posting sparkling individual numbers, Burrow has guided Cincinnati to back-to-back AFC North titles. Burrow’s Bengals have logged five playoff victories — equaling the postseason win total from the franchise’s first 53 years of existence — while making consecutive AFC Championship Games and nearly winning Super Bowl LVI. Cincy would be wise to lock up Burrow before Herbert gets his money, which could definitely eclipse Hurts’ haul.
Herbert has yet to log a playoff win. In fact, in his lone postseason appearance, the Chargers suffered an historic defeat, shockingly blowing a 27-0 lead to the Jaguars. So, why do I believe that Herbert could — and should — get more dough than Hurts? Well, to be clear, I’m not talking about a massive financial chasm between the two. Part of it is just that contracts for similar players continue to increase in chronological order. But also, like Burrow, Herbert has just been a more consistent performer than Hurts over the three years since these three quarterbacks entered the league. Herbert was the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year, earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2021 and just turned in another fine season in ’22. Yes, Hurts produced at a higher level this past season, but he was also surrounded by a clearly superior roster. And I believe new Bolts offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is going to do a better job of maximizing Herbert’s dreamy arm talent going forward.
At the end of the day, Hurts, Burrow and Herbert are all top-10 quarterbacks and deserve to be paid accordingly. Meanwhile, another elite signal-caller remains in limbo …
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