Will he throw for 4,500 yards? Is he a top-10 QB? We’ve decided to ignore his devastating knee injury and ask just how great Burrow will be. And somehow, that’s entirely appropriate.
Returning from reconstructive knee surgery is not easy. There’s never a guarantee that you will be the player you once were.
And yet, here we are already talking about our sky-high expectations of Joe Burrow in year two.
Will he break the franchise’s passing yard record? Pro Football Focus is predicting he will.
Do the Bengals have the best playmakers in the AFC North? pic.twitter.com/h1U41x7Hme
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 4, 2021
Is he already a top-10 quarterback? SB Nation’s James Dator says he is.
These conversations alone tell you all you need to know about the Bengals’ 24-year-old quarterback: he has it.
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Hometown: Athens, OH
Experience: two years
Burrow signed a 4 year, $36,190,137 contract with the Bengals last year as a rookie. That included a $23,880,100 signing bonus, $36,190,137 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $9,047,534. According to Spotrac, he will earn a base salary of $2,255,006 in 2021.
After the greatest season by a quarterback in college football history, Burrow – a native of Ohio – arrived in Cincinnati as the golden boy, the chosen one, and our football savior.
And in year one, he did not disappoint. Burrow looked at a poor offensive line and said, “meh, I can work with this.” In only ten games, he threw for 2,688 yards along with 13 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. He led his team to 27 or more points five times. He almost pulled off a stunning comeback in his very first game.
But it wasn’t so much the bottom line as it was how he got there. Burrow dodged backfield intruders, led receivers with the ball, and elevated the play of the offense. Those contributions quickly earned him the respect of both his peers and analysts.
Joe “Barry Sanders” Burrow pic.twitter.com/9bIi3nlHOB
— Dadio Makdook (@dadiodefacto) November 3, 2020
Sadly, his rookie season ended far too soon. He suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee against Washington in Week 11. His PCL and meniscus were also damaged. And yet, in just ten games, Burrow demonstrated that his 60-touchdown season at LSU was no fluke, and that he can replicate that sort of production if he gets just a little more time and fixes his deep ball.
Outlook for 2021
It is becoming increasingly clear that Burrow will be even better this year. Reports continue to come out that he is throwing the ball harder and faster. And that is huge. Burrow managed to dominate defenses with pretty average velocity as a rookie. He used his instincts and anticipation to deliver balls just before defensive backs and linebackers could get to them. Now, he can spray the ball over the field knowing the windows won’t be as tight with his faster and hotter passes.
Even more importantly, he now has Ja’Marr Chase, arguably the best wide receiver prospect since Julio Jones. The two developed quite the chemistry at LSU (highlights). And, as we wrote earlier, the rookie pass catcher could be the person to unlock Burrow’s deep game at the professional level. The last time the duo played together, they connected on 24 passes of 20 or more yards, including 14 touchdowns.
If he stays healthy, breaking the franchise’s single-season passing yards record is completely possible for Burrow. And he is a top-10 quarterback in terms of what he contributes to his team. Others may be more refined passers or have a lengthier list of accomplishments. But Burrow gives his team more than just sweet (and now very spicy) passes. He gives them a true leader.
100%. Really, it should be ∞%. Burrow is the franchise. He’s the most important player and on a rookie deal. To get cut, he’d have to combine every controversy in NFL history, like be busted for selling drugs to dogs he abused and forced to give inappropriate massages. So yeah, he’ll be on the roster. Now and (hopefully) for a long, long time.