The oft-fined linebacker re-upped with the Bengals just before the start of the season. 

By Daniel Rapaport
September 07, 2017

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has agreed to a three-year, $38.68 million contract extension that will make him one of the highest-paid inside linebackers in the NFL. Burfict was entering the last year of a four-year contract signed before the 2014 season, and the extension prevents Burfict from hitting free agency after this season.

Details of the deal were first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Burfict, 26, has led the Bengals in tackles three times and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013. But he has been fined multiple times in his career and is suspended for the first three games of this season for an illegal hit in the preseason. The suspension was initially five games but was reduced after a successful appeal.

Perhaps most notably, Burfict may have cost the Bengals a playoff victory in the 2015 playoffs by hitting Steelers receiver Antonio Brown late and incurring a 15-yard penalty. He was suspended for the first three games of last season for what the league deemed repeated violation of player safety rules.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has been a vocal supporter of Burfict, and said earlier this season that he thinks the linebacker has changed but that he "hits like dynamite." In a news release regarding the extension, Lewis called Burfict "one of the young, emerging talents within the league." 

The Bengals host their AFC North rival Ravens in Week 1.

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