Bengals exercise fifth-year option on Ja’Marr Chase

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Ja’Marr Chase hasn’t received a long-term extension yet, but the Cincinnati Bengals made what likely was an easy decision to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract and he’s getting a big raise in the process.

Teams have until May 2 to exercise the fifth-year option on their 2021 first-round draft picks, and Cincinnati didn’t need to delay that decision any further for its No. 5 overall selection from that year.

Chase became eligible for an extension March 14 with the start of the new league calendar, but it seems neither side is in a hurry to get that done yet. The obvious choice was to at least lock Chase up through 2025 with the option year on his rookie deal, though it comes with a full guaranteed salary of $21.8 million for that fifth season, according to

The former LSU wide receiver has a base salary of $1.1 million this season. His big raise comes thanks to the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement, which set four levels of pay for players on the fifth-year option. As a three-time Pro Bowl selection, Chase fits in the top tier, which is worth a salary equal to the franchise tag price at his position. The lowest tier would have netted him $14.3 million.

Chase said in January he would love to get an extension done this offseason, but he wanted to wait and see what kind of deal former LSU teammate and current Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson gets. Guaranteed money up front is the most important thing, according to Chase.

“We’ll see what happens this offseason,” Chase said ahead of the season-finale against Cleveland. “I’m just enjoying what’s in front of me right now.”

The Bengals have made clear their intentions to keep Chase around long term. Chase, who was the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021, has played and started 45 regular-season games for Cincinnati, catching 268 passes for 3,717 yards and 29 TDs, and has led the team in each category in each of the past three seasons.

Last season, Chase totaled a career-high 100 receptions, tying for the second most in a season in team history, and finished with 1,216 yards and seven touchdowns. He is one of eight players in NFL history to reach the 1000-yard receiving mark in each of his first three career seasons.

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