Bengals’ Situation With Tee Higgins Is Getting Concerning

Tee Higgins, Bengals, Carolina Panthers
NFL Analysis Network

The Cincinnati Bengals placed a franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins earlier in the offseason, preventing him from reaching free agency. This resulted in Higgins requesting a trade, but the Bengals didn’t seem all that interested in accommodating him. Higgins then later said he expected to play out 2024 in Cincinnati, but the problem is, he has yet to sign his franchise tender.

Now, the Bengals have opened mandatory minicamp, and Higgins is not present. He is not even eligible to participate in any of the team’s offseason activities unless he signs his tender, as he is technically not under contract at the moment.

The question is, how much longer is this going to go on?

When Will the Bengals and Tee Higgins Compromise?

Cincinnati has until mid-July to reach a long-term agreement with Higgins, but that probably isn’t happening. Fellow receiver Ja’Marr Chase became eligible for a contract extension this offseason, and the Bengals are going to prioritize him over Higgins. Plus, the team is already paying quarterback Joe Burrow $55 million annually.

Does Cincy have enough room to give two wide outs big money? Probably not.

This means that, at best, Higgins has one year left with the Bengals. Cincinnati almost certainly won’t re-sign him in free agency next offseason.

But could it also mean that Higgins has played his final snap in Cincy period?

Higgins doesn’t seem willing to budge on his demands. At least not right now. He doesn’t seem eager to sign his one-year tender, and training camp is just over a month away. If this drags into camp, the Bengals may have no choice but to consider a trade.

Obviously, Cincinnati would prefer to have Higgins on the roster in 2024. That’s why the club hasn’t really entertained trading him this offseason. The Bengals are trying to win a Super Bowl, after all, and moving Higgins would definitely be counterproductive to that goal. But does Cincinnati really want this hanging over its head for the rest of the summer?

It seems doubtful that Higgins will hold out into next season. Would he really sit out with free agency on tap for him next March? Teams would absolutely be interested in Higgins regardless of whether or not he plays in 2024, but you can bet that he certainly wouldn’t make as much money as if he would if he suits up.

Perhaps the Bengals know this and have that bit of leverage in their back pocket. But it’s still a headache either way, and Cincinnati may want to just rid itself of this problem so it doesn’t snowball in the coming weeks.

We’ll see what ends up becoming of Tee Higgins as the offseason progresses, but there is no doubt that this has the potential to turn into a messy situation in Cincy.

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