CINCINNATI -- Logan Wilson understood the situation when the offseason started.
The fourth-year linebacker was one of the vital Cincinnati Bengals players eligible for extensions on their rookie contracts. While quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Tee Higgins received the bulk of the attention, Wilson waited to see where he fit in the franchise's future.
Now with his extension signed, Wilson hopes the Bengals can continue to retain the core that helped transform the NFL's worst franchise in 2019 into a Super Bowl finalist.
"I still think that this contract allows them to get those things done with guys, and hopefully we're able to keep them long-term as well," Wilson said Sunday, one day after he signed a four-year extension worth $37.25 million.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor was all smiles as he introduced Wilson, recalling how in 2020, the Bengals anxiously waited for him to escape the second round of the draft. Cincinnati, which held the first pick in the third round, pounced and took the standout from Wyoming.
"He's one of those draft experiences that I have, where we really crossed our fingers for every single pick that came off the board, hoping and praying that he'd still be available," Taylor said. "And fortunately, he was."
The 6-foot-2 Wilson has solidified the middle of Cincinnati's defense, leading the team in tackles the past two seasons, including a career-high 123 in 2022. He also has 7 career interceptions, 11 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles in the regular season.
Wilson's teammates have been supportive of his new contract. He said he was still at the team facility Friday when both sides agreed to terms. Cornerback Mike Hilton walked out of a meeting room once the news broke to congratulate him on the deal.
Higgins, who is awaiting his contract extension, has issued messages on social media in support of Wilson's extension.
The top three draft picks in Cincinnati's 2020 class -- Burrow, Higgins and Wilson -- have been starters as the Bengals have transformed into perennial Super Bowl contenders. On Sunday, Wilson said being part of that critical draft class was "rewarding" and "humbling." It also played a role in his desire to remain with the franchise.
"We are all rooting for each other," he said. "That's also rare, because sometimes guys are just trying to get theirs. The whole team camaraderie we have is just rare and that's another reason I wanted to be a part of it."