With the combine starting this week we are well and truly into draft season. There are plenty of stories out there. What will Tua Tagovailoa look like after his serious hip injury. How many of the many quarterback needy teams move up? Could the Redskins actually pass on Chase Young for a haul of picks? All of those will be answered soon enough, but one that seemingly gets more legs with each day that passes is about Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The LSU quarterback has been pencilled into the number one slot for some time now. He had an incredible season and what could have been the toughest call since Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III was taken away with Tua’s injury. But more and more of the talk is around Burrow’s willingness to play for the Bengals and if he could force a move like Eli Manning all those years ago.
At first it seemed like a non-story, but Burrow himself could easily have ended the talk and he has refused to do so. Even as recently as a week ago he added fuel to the fire saying he had his own process to go through. Of course, he could just be playing it cool, not wanting to count his chickens, but to me he is letting this story run and that can only be on purpose.
If he would actually refuse to play for the Bengals it puts them in an awful situation. Do they trade out, hoping somebody will give up a big price to get Burrow, but teams will know they have the advantage when it comes to negotiations? Do they select Tua or another passer such as Justin Herbert? Or do they take Burrow and hope it works itself out?
If he was reluctant about playing for the Bengals, it would be understandable. They are hardly the most forward thinking organisation and their long run without a playoff win, let alone a Super Bowl can be put firmly at the feet of the owners and the other people running the franchise. The system is always going to throw up these dilemmas as the best players are nearly always going to end up on bad teams. But there are also worse situations to be in than with A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross.
My money would be on Burrow playing in a Bengals uniform come September, but this is a story that will rumble on and on, all the way to April’s draft.