Even though the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t play on Thursday, Joe Burrow still managed to steal the show by becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history. But Burrow signing a five-year, $275 million contract won’t help Tee Higgins get paid too.
Higgins, a 24-year-old receiver who’s topped 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons, heads into the final year of his rookie contract. Discussions between the Bengals and Higgins’ agent have taken place, but Kelsey Conway indicates an extension has “never been close.”
Many teams like to have all contract discussions wrapped up before their regular season kicks off, giving negotiators less than 48 hours to reach an agreement if that remains true here. Yet, as Conway notes, barring a “shocking” development, the Bengals are not expected to sign Higgins to an extension before their divisional battle against the Cleveland Browns.
She adds that Higgins is “not believed to be in the Bengals’ future plans.” This may be true. However, the Bengals will still have a couple of options available to keep Higgins in Cincinnati.
Even if it’s uncommon, they can still negotiate with Higgins’ camp throughout the season and could even patch up a new contract before he officially hits unrestricted free agency ahead of the offseason. Worst case scenario, there’s always the franchise tag too, which was set at $19.7 million for wide receivers in 2023.
Higgins was also offered a contract this past offseason, but as the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, it wasn’t quite what the Bengals receiver was hoping for. The Bengals are also likely to begin negotiating an extension with Pro Bowl wideout Ja’Marr Chase next offseason too, which could be the biggest reason why they’re hesitant to shell out top dollar to Higgins too.
Yet, even if Higgins doesn’t get a new deal before the season kicks off, it doesn’t automatically mean we’re witnessing the final year of his career with the Bengals. But of course, getting a contract extension done would be the best way to prove it.