so sad to say goodbye: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase announces his last season with the Bengals might he be done with the…..

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase missed Tuesday’s OTAs due to ongoing contract discussions, as reported by ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. However, a deal might be imminent.

Darlington mentioned on SportsCenter that Justin Jefferson’s recent contract with the Minnesota Vikings could influence Chase’s negotiations:

“He had been waiting for this deal, making it clear he wanted Jefferson’s contract to be finalized first. Now, negotiations might proceed. Chase is a top priority for the Bengals, despite Tee Higgins also awaiting his turn. If Chase secures a deal similar to Jefferson’s, with substantial guaranteed money, it would be challenging for the team to allocate so much of their salary cap to one position. However, Chase remains the main focus for the team right now.”

This follows a report by Paul Dehner Jr. from The Athletic, suggesting that Chase might delay signing a new contract.

“League sources suggested that signing before this season could mean significant concessions from Chase’s camp,” Dehner wrote.

Dehner further explained that there’s still potential for Chase’s value to grow in Cincinnati.

Negotiations will center on the guaranteed money required to keep Chase, a sticking point given the Bengals’ usual reluctance to offer high guarantees, except for last year’s notable five-year extension for quarterback Joe Burrow, which included $219 million in guaranteed money.

The key question is whether the Bengals will make a similar exception for Chase, who has established himself as one of the league’s top receivers in his first three NFL seasons. Jefferson’s four-year, $140 million contract with $110 million guaranteed has set a new benchmark, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.

Chase is eligible to sign an extension for the first time since being drafted fifth overall in 2021. The 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year has exceeded 1,000 receiving yards and earned Pro Bowl nominations in all three of his seasons.

At 24, Chase is set to play the 2024 season with a $9.8 million cap hit in the final year of his rookie contract. The Bengals have already exercised his fifth-year option at a fully guaranteed $21.8 million for 2025, according to Over the Cap.

Another standout season could persuade the Bengals to offer an unprecedented extension, though Chase might need to wait until next offseason for it.

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