Joe Burrow ‘waiting to see’ about coronavirus pandemic before signing Bengals contract

5:23 PM ET

  • Joe Burrow 'waiting to see' about coronavirus pandemic before signing Bengals contract 1

    Ben BabyESPN Staff Writer


    • ESPN Staff Writer
    • Previously a college football writer for The Dallas Morning News
    • University of North Texas graduate

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow is a signature away from becoming one of richest 23-year-olds in Ohio.

However, as with every aspect of this offseason, the delay of that windfall will be affected by COVID-19. In an interview published on the “Pardon My Take” podcast on Friday, the top overall pick in this year’s draft said he hasn’t signed his contract with the team as he’s in a holding period because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re just waiting to see what happens over the next three months because we really don’t know,” Burrow said on the podcast.

When he officially signs with the Bengals, Burrow is projected to receive a $23.9 million signing bonus, according to

There’s a feeling among teams and agents that some high first-round picks might take longer to sign than usual this year because of the pandemic and the potential revenue losses that could result.

There’s no concern that any of the deals won’t eventually get done, but as teams build their budgets with the potential for lost stadium and TV revenue in mind, it’s possible some would want to hold on to signing bonus money a little bit longer than they would in a normal year. Burrow’s signing bonus as the No. 1 overall pick will be close to $24 million — a number high enough to impact any team’s short-term cash flow.

On Friday, Carolina’s Derrick Brown became the first player selected in the first round to agree to terms with his club.

Burrow’s contract situation hasn’t affected the immediate acclimation period for the Bengals’ next franchise quarterback.

During Friday’s virtual teleconference with local reporters, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said the team worked with the rookies last weekend in lieu of the traditional minicamp.

“We got three days with the rookies,” Taylor said, “so we got a chance to bring them up to speed on the things they’ve missed the week before with the veterans.”

In Burrow’s podcast interview, he said they spent the three-day minicamp working through Day 1 of the installation period. On Monday, the rookies will have the opportunity to work with the veterans as the team continues its offseason workouts.

Based on the feeling Burrow had when he got the call on draft night from Cincinnati, it appears he’s more than eager to begin his NFL journey.

“It was more along the lines of relief, you know, ‘I’m glad this is over, let’s finally start to get back to football,'” Burrow said on the podcast. “Instead of talking, we can get back on the field. Hopefully soon.”

NFL insider Dan Graziano contributed to this report.

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