1674645853 Brandon Beane Bengals have advantage over Joe Burrow and JaMarr

Brandon Beane: Bengals have advantage over Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase in rookie contracts

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills

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Bills general manager Brandon Beane says one of the reasons it’s difficult to keep up with the Bengals is that Cincinnati has its best players on cheap rookie contracts, while Buffalo doesn’t.

“They have the advantage of a rookie quarterback contract right now,” Beane said of Joe Burrow. “They’ve had a few lean years, and without going into too much detail about their physiques, I don’t want to be so bad that I have to go get Ja’Marr Chase. He’s a huge talent, I’d love to have him, but you have to go through a few lean years for that. They could Burrow No. 1 and Chase get [No. 5] and these guys are on their rookie deals. We’re paying Stefon Diggs a pretty hefty sum. We’re paying Josh Allen a pretty big number. So there are the limitations of the cap. They have a really good team and some good young players. We’re going to try to get as many players through the draft and through the free hand as possible, but again, our cap situation is a bit different.”

Beane said the NFL hasn’t told teams what the salary cap will be for 2023, but Beane expects the Bills to be over it in the offseason. That means the Bills’ first priority is taking steps to get below the cap rather than signing expensive free agents.

“We need to get below the cap through trains and roster cuts. . . . There will be no Von Miller signature or anything like that. We need to work to get below the cap so we can operate this year,” Beane said.

Beane said there are steps the Bills can take to reduce salary caps this year, but those moves will result in salary caps being pushed back into future seasons, so Beane doesn’t want to take too many such moves.

“I don’t want to be $100 million over the cap in two years like we’ve seen with teams. I don’t intend to,” Beane said.

Burrow is likely to sign a lucrative contract extension this year and Chase likely next year, so the Bengals won’t have that advantage for long. But for now, it’s an advantage that makes Beane jealous of the Bengals’ situation.