Skip to main content

Bills GM Believes The Bengals Have 1 'Huge' Advantage

Brandon Beane, general manager of the Buffalo Bills

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 01: Brandon Beane, general manager of the Buffalo Bills speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

The AFC is loaded with superstar quarterbacks poised to headline the conferences for years. 

An elite signal-caller puts any NFL team in a position to succeed, but it's even better when he performs at a high level early in his career. The Cincinnati Bengals have that edge with Joe Burrow.

During Tuesday's end-of-year press conference (h/t Pro Football Talk), Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane reflected on how the Bengals are better situated to maintain a championship-caliber roster around their third-year quarterback next season.

"They right now are on the advantage of a rookie quarterback contract," Beane said of Burrow. "They had some lean years, and without getting too much into their build, I don't want to suck bad enough to have to get Ja'Marr Chase. He's a heck of a talent. I'd love to have him, but you got to go through some lean years to do that."

The Bengals went 2-14 in 2019, their third straight losing season, before drafting Burrow with the No. 1 pick. After going 4-11-1 in his rookie campaign, they selected Chase at No. 5 the following year.

While the Bills didn't fully bottom out, they finished with six-to-nine wins every season from 2011 to 2018. Beane traded up from No. 12 to No. 7 to draft Allen in 2018, a deal that's helped them record double-digit victories in four straight years.

Although Beane will have no regrets over trading for Diggs, the Minnesota Vikings proved you don't necessarily have to be terrible to land a young star receiver when spending Buffalo's first-round pick on Justin Jefferson.

Allen signed a six-year, $258 million extension that kicks in next season, and Diggs inked a four-year, $96 million extension in April. That will make it more challenging for Beane to assemble a formidable roster around the star duo.

"We're going to have to get under the cap by moves, roster cuts. . . . There's not gonna be a Von Miller signing or something like that. We're going to have to work to get under the cap so we can operate this year," Beane said.

Meanwhile, Burrow and Chase will combine to absorb approximately $20 million on Cincinnati's cap next season. That gives the Bengals a golden opportunity to keep their championship window open.

Cincinnati can return to its second straight Super Bowl by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game rematch.