Vontaze Burfict and Bengals begin long-term contract talks

The Cincinnati Bengals and linebacker Vontze Burfict have began talks on a long-term contract extension.

Set to make just $570,000 in the final year of his current deal, he is under team control for the next two seasons. The former undrafted free agent led the NFL with 171 tackles last season along with three sacks, six passes defensed and an interception in 2013. Burfict plays sideline-to-sideline and has the ability to rush the passer and cover tight ends up the middle.

Burfict recorded 127 tackles in his rookie season when he signed a three-year deal worth $1.441 million in 2012 after he fell out of the draft due to character concerns.

Insead of being a distraction Burfict has become the leader of the Bengals defense under head coach Marvin Lewis. He turns 24 in September.