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Brandon Beane: The Bengals benefit from Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase on rookie contracts

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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 does not.

“They right now have the benefit of a rookie quarterback contract,” Beane said of Joe Burrow. “They had some lean years, and without getting too much into their building, 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’ve got to come through lean years to do it. They were able to get Burrow No. 1 and Chase (No. 5) and those guys are on their rookie deals. We’re paying Stefon Diggs a pretty hefty number. We’re paying Josh Allen a pretty hefty number. So there are the cap limitations. They have a really good team and they have some good young players. We’re going to try to get as many players as we can through the draft and through free agency, but again, our battle situation is a little different.

Beane said the NFL hasn’t told teams what the 2023 salary cap will be, but Beane expects the Bills to be above that heading into the offseason. That means the Bills’ first priority will be making moves to get under the cap, rather than signing expensive free agents.

“We’re going to have to get under the cap on moves, roster cuts. . . . There’s not going to be a Von Miller signing or anything like that. We’re going to have to work to get under the cap so we can operate this year, ” said Beane.

Beane said there are moves the Bills can make to reduce salary cap hits this year, but those moves end up pushing salary cap hits into future seasons, so Beane doesn’t want to make too many such moves.

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

Burrow will likely sign a lucrative contract extension this year and Chase likely next, 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.

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