The Cincinnati Bengals reached agreement Wednesday with Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a four-year, $20.05 million contract extension.
The deal has a $19 million base salary and additional incentives for Pro Bowl appearances, NFL.com reported.
Burfict's 2014 compensation will be $7.6 million, and he's the second young core player -- quarterback Andy Dalton signed a long-term deal -- to be locked up by the Bengals. Wide receiver A.J. Green is expected to be up next.
Burfict has played outside linebacker but had a breakout season in 2013, leading the NFL in tackles with 171, as a middle linebacker. He has started 30 of 32 regular-season games the past two seasons for the Bengals.
Burfict signed a three-year, $1.441 million rookie contract in 2012 with the Bengals after he was undrafted because of concerns about his character and a subpar combine performance.
But head coach Marvin Lewis never wavered in his opinion of Burfict, comparing him in 2012 to a player he coached in Baltimore -- now-retired All-Pro Ray Lewis.
"They're not full of themselves," Marvin Lewis said in January. "It's all about, 'How do I get better? How do I help the team win?' And that's a common thread both players have."
Burfict was flagged by some organizations for temper flare-ups and questionable "football character" coming out of Arizona State. When he posted a 40-yard dash time slower than several lumbering offensive linemen on the noted fast surface at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, red flags became deafening alarms.
Marvin Lewis met with Burfict at P.F. Chang's restaurant in Tempe before the draft and said he was definitely impressed, even though the Bengals did not draft him.
"I'm proud for him of what he's done and I don't take any credit away from what he has done. He has done the things I asked him to do from the very first time. That's important," Lewis said in January. "You knew he had the charisma of a leader, he had the ability of a leader and he waited his turn. He's evolved into this and he didn't step on anyone's toes doing it. He just evolved into it with his own natural abilities and what he is as a person and a player."
Burfict continues to seek counsel from Ray Lewis, a first-round pick who admits it was Marvin Lewis who helped him when he was "fighting himself" to stay humble. Now some of that message applies to the Bengals' up-and-coming linebacker.
"Don't go to the Pro Bowl and act like you're hot stuff," Marvin Lewis said. "Go there and learn. You suck the knowledge out of the guys and then you come back and help us get better. (Ray Lewis) did that."