Jake Browning

Getty Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning.

Recent history has shown the Cincinnati Bengals they need to have a good backup plan in place at quarterback.

They secured that backup plan on April 23 with the signing of quarterback Jake Browning to a 2-year contract that keeps him in place through 2025 and makes sure the Bengals have a reliable option should starter Joe Burrow go down with injury again. The signing was first reported by ESPN.

Browning, 28, was an exclusive rights free agent who went 4-3 in 7 starts in 2023, throwing for 1,936 yards, 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.3). Browning won three of his first four starts — the first Bengals quarterback to do so since Boomer Esiason in 1984.

Burrow missed the last seven games of 2023 with a season-ending wrist injury that required surgery but should be healthy for the start of the 2024 season.

It was the second time in four seasons that Burrow suffered a season-ending injury, following a major knee injury in 2020.

The Bengals signed what could be their third-string quarterback as well, agreeing to terms with Logan Woodside, who spent the last five seasons as a backup with the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons.

Jake Browning Set QB Records Before Bengals

Browning first gained notoriety at Folsom (Calif.) High School, where he was a two-time California Gatorade Player of the Year and set national and state passing records.

At Folsom High, Browning set the California state records for pass completions (1,191), pass attempts (1,708) and passing yards (16,775) while setting the national record for passing touchdowns (229).

As a senior, Browning set a national single-season record with 91 touchdown passes and the California single-season record with 5,790 passing yards.

At the University of Washington, Browning became just the second true freshman to open the season as the starting quarterback in school history and started every game for four years, winning two Pac-12 championships and leading the Huskies to the College Football Playoff for the first time in 2016.

Browning still owns Washington records for career passing yards (12,296), career passing touchdowns (94) and single-season passing touchdowns (43).

Jake Browning Passed Over in 2019 NFL Draft

Despite his college accolades, Browning went undrafted in 2019 and spent three seasons on the practice squad for the Minnesota Vikings — a fact NFL analyst Lance Zierlein attributed largely to a pair of shoulder injuries in 2015 and 2016.

“Browning is a college game-manager whose success is tied to his talent at receiver,” Zierlein wrote in 2019. “Browning has moments where he can rise to the occasion, but he’s failed to sustain it over the last two seasons and he doesn’t have the size, arm strength or intangibles to fall back on. He is a late-round to undrafted prospect with an uphill battle to earn a roster spot.”

Browning spent 2021 and 2022 on the practice squad for the Bengals before beating out Trevor Siemian to be Burrow’s backup in the 2023 preseason.

When Browning finally entered an NFL game for the first time in Sept. 2023 in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns, it had been five years since he’d played in a regular-season game on any level.

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