In 2017, the Bengals could have had quarterback Patrick Mahomes with the ninth pick in the draft. Instead, they took receiver John Ross. That mistake has football consequences, and business ones, too.
At a time when the Bengals are bracing for the looming requirement to pay a big-money deal to quarterback Joe Burrow, owner Mike Brown seems to hope that Burrow emulates one of his peers when it comes to his expectations.
“I sort of like how Mahomes said he doesn’t care about what those guys are getting,” Brown said Monday. “He’s set for life with what he’s got. And why isn’t that a good way to look at it, I’m thinking?”
It’s a great way to look at it, for the people writing the checks. It makes their life a lot easier when it comes to holding a great team together if the great players don’t insist on full and fair market value.
Plenty of players approach their business interests by taking the position that it’s up to them to make as much money as they can, and it’s up to the team to figure out the salary cap. The Rams have a broad array of highly-paid players, and they just won the Super Bowl. Other teams could do the same thing. Other quarterbacks don’t have to think like Mahomes.
Still, it’s no surprise that Brown perked up at the Mahomes comments. Most owners with great quarterbacks would do the same. And Brown, whose organization has long had the reputation for being one of the most frugal in the league, now has to prepare to give Burrow the biggest contract his team has ever given, to anyone.
It’s no surprise that the Bengals plan to sell the naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium. Because it’s about more than the cap, when it comes to signing a franchise quarterback. Cash flow is an issue, too — especially for any fully-guaranteed payments that possibly will have to be placed in escrow.