Bengals pay Vontaze Burfict $20M+ for 4 years

CINCINNATI - The Bengals locked up Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict with a four-year, $20.05 million contract extension Tuesday, according to NFL.com.

Burfict, who led the league in tackles last season, will make $6.9 million combined in a signing bonus and roster bonus this season, plus another roster bonus worth $2.15 million due next March.

That brings his total income to $9.75 million by spring (there's $700,000 left over from his rookie deal).

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The Bengals took a minimal risk when they signed Burfict as an undrafted free agent from Arizona State, where he was regarded as a hot head and was repeatedly penalized and disciplined for personal fouls.

Burfict worked through his problems under coach Marvin Lewis and quickly emerged as the Bengals' top defensive player. His extension comes two weeks after the Bengals got quarterback Andy Dalton — also entering the final year on his original deal — under contract through 2020 for up to $115 million.

Last year, Burfict led the team in tackles 12 times, was honored as the AFC's defensive player of the week for a 15-tackle performance against Cleveland that included a fumble return for a touchdown, and made his first Pro Bowl.

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