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Green, Burfict on 'ultimate' 53-man roster

8/14/2014

CINCINNATI -- You have many reasons to be glad A.J. Green and Vontaze Burfict are on your team, Cincinnati Bengals fans.

Here's one more.

The two earlier this week were named to ESPN Insider Mark Dominik's ultimate 53-man NFL roster, claiming starting spots at receiver and outside linebacker.

The premise of Dominik's roster exercise was to create an all-star team of sorts. He was to find the best talent in the league while still keeping his team's salary-cap figure as much under this year's $133 million limit as possible. The former Tampa Bay general manager did it, too, using about $132.9 million to establish his team.

What made Green and Burfict perfect additions to Dominik's team was the fact that both are currently relatively cheap hires while also possessing Pro Bowl talent. Neither has signed an extension to his rookie deal, meaning it would be a steal for an all-star team that would be able to pay them what they are currently making. Green is set to make about $6.3 million this season. Burfict will see about $570,000.

Green's salary comes from the final year of his four-year rookie contract signed in 2011. As a first-round draft pick, he was eligible for a fifth-year option year, and the Bengals have already exercised it. While Cincinnati still can offer Green a contract extension this year, there exists a high possibility that he'll play out the fifth-year option deal, making just north of $10 million for the 2015 season.

Burfict's scheduled $570,000 this year comes as he completes his rookie deal. It's possible Cincinnati will work out a new contract with him between now and next offseason, meaning he'll soon make an amount considerably closer to what he is worth. As an undrafted player, the former college free agent was compensated as such. He could be staring at upwards of $5 million a year whenever his new contract gets settled.

When you factor in the success Green and Burfict have had along with the relatively low (for now) cost associated with them, it was a no-brainer for Dominik to include them on his list.

Below are the blurbs Dominik included in his piece on the two Bengals selections:

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,264,394): I wanted a clear-cut No. 1 wideout, and Green is that guy. Thankfully, he has not re-done his rookie deal, so I can put him on the team and save the cap room that most established top WRs would take up under their unrestricted free agent contracts (that's why I had to leave Megatron off the team). Green is a special player who has all the traits of a star receiver: size, speed and awareness. Our QBs will love having him.

Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals ($570,334): This one was easy. I got last season's leading tackler (who has piled up 298 tackles over the past two years). He is big, thick, strong and really finds the ball quickly. Plus, he is on a rookie deal, which allowed me to spend more money on the guys in front of and behind him.