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Latest Tee Higgins rumors don’t look good for Cincinnati Bengals

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

When the offseason began, the Cincinnati Bengals placed the franchise tag on star receiver Tee Higgins, where he’d be in line to earn $21.8 million this season. Yet, Higgins hasn’t actually signed the contract, which indicates he likely prefers to sign a long-term extension instead of doing the risky thing of playing on a one-year deal with zero future guarantees.

However, we also can’t forget about the fact that Higgins did request a trade from Cincinnati. To no surprise, the Bengals haven’t been eager to part with their 6-foot-4, two-time 1,000-yard receiver. But, according to ESPN’s Matt Miller, they’re also not making any progress in contract extension negotiations.

“A source close to the Higgins situation told me the two sides haven’t talked yet, making it unclear if the Bengals will move Higgins, but that person also noted the team believes it is in win-now mode and can challenge the Chiefs for the AFC title this season with Higgins on the roster. Ja’Marr Chase also needs a new contract, which could play a part and even open the door for the Bengals to draft a receiver in Round 1 to replace Higgins if Cincinnati can’t afford both pass-catchers.”

ESPN’s Matt Miller on Tee Higgins/Cincinnati Bengals

Higgins’ contract situation puts the Bengals in a tough spot. As Miller noted, this is a team that feels their time to compete for a Super Bowl is right now. Being that the Bengals were just in the Super Bowl two years ago, they may not be wrong. Making matters worse, Cincinnati doesn’t have a replacement for Higgins on the roster, and trying to replace him through the draft could lead to selecting a player who never lives up to his potential.

Yet, it’s always possible the Bengals receive a trade offer too good to refuse on draft day. However, if Higgins is still on the roster after Day 2 of the NFL Draft, expect him to begin the season in Cincinnati even if the two sides can’t reach a long-term agreement.

Related: 2024 NFL mock draft: Projecting Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, and Michael Penix Jr.’s NFL landing spots

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