Updates from Friday, Aug. 29
ESPN's Adam Caplan reports financial insight into Vontaze Burfict's new contract with the Bengals:
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 27
Vontaze Burfict's new contract has finally been confirmed by the Bengals:
Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com added the following details:
Burfict, the undrafted free agent, has now gone full circle. The man who got $1,000 to sign two years ago gets $10 million by next spring. Since he turns just 24 in three weeks, he’ll get another pay day by the time he’s 27, or sooner.
“Vontaze is a special talent; he has shown us that from his first day here,” said head coach Marvin Lewis in a news release. “He is a load physically (6-1, 255) and he’s extremely competitive, but what really makes him stand out is the instinct and feel he has for the game. It’s something born in him, you can’t coach a player to naturally react the way he does in all situations. This signing is a great move for the future of our defense.”
Updates from Friday, Aug. 22
Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer notes that Burfict has yet to sign his deal:
Vontaze Burfict has gone from an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State with attitude issues to one of the better linebackers in the league with the Cincinnati Bengals. The team has rewarded him for that transformation, signing him to a contract extension.
Adam Caplan of ESPN reported the news Wednesday:
ESPN's Adam Schefter has more details on the new contract:
Not bad for a player who wasn't selected in the 2012 draft and most folks assumed would be another example of a promising talent blowing his opportunity. Remember, Burfict came out of Arizona State with a reputation for being dirty on the field—he was flagged for 16 personal fouls in his last 26 games for the school—and questionable character before showing up to the NFL Scouting Combine overweight and slow.
He's come a long, long way.
Of course, this deal is equally beneficial to the team that took a chance on him and has reaped the rewards. Just look at his rise in production over the past two years for the Bengals:
|Vontaze Burfict Stats|
|Year||Tackles||Sacks||Forced Fumbles||Fumble Recoveries||Interceptions|
So monstrous was his 2013 season that he was named a Pro Bowler.
And even bigger things are expected going forward. So yes, you could argue that this is a pretty team-friendly deal. Chris Trapasso of NFL.com certainly thinks so:
Even so, Burfict, 23, got a major raise after just two seasons. In that regard, being an undrafted free agent actually helped him, per Andrew Brandt of ESPN:
He'll also have the opportunity to sign another big deal at the age of 27, so an even bigger payday could be coming Burfict's way if his production remains at the level of his first two seasons.
The Bengals, meanwhile, have to be pleased with their young core of players that includes Burfict, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard and Geno Atkins. There is no reason why Cincinnati can't continue to compete for a playoff spot for many years to come.
And there's no reason why Burfict can't continue to be one of the better redemption stories in the league.