The Cincinnati Bengals and linebacker Vontaze Burfict are working towards a long-term contract extension with conversations between the two sides picking up earlier this week. The two sides do not yet have a deal in place but they are making some serious progress, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.
As Garafolo puts it, "the gulf that once existed in talks has shrunk significantly."
Burfict joined the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2012. While Burfict was a highly touted player out of Arizona State, there were concerns about his character and various off-the-field issues that led to him falling out of the draft.
The Bengals gambled on Burfict's talent by giving him a roster spot and it has paid off in a big way. In his sophomore season, Burfict made the Pro Bowl and earned second-team All Pro honors.
Burfict has 298 tackles, four sacks, one interception and a forced fumble throughout his first two seasons with the team. He has made himself a centerpiece of the Bengals defensive unit and the contract extension is reflective of just how valuable the team feels he is. There is no timetable for when a deal will get done, but the fact that they are working hard and making progress is a positive sign for both parties involved.