Cincinnati Bengals to Franchise Tag Wide Receiver Tee Higgins

The Cincinnati Bengals will hold onto their star wide receiver for at least one more season. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Bengals have informed wide receiver Tee Higgins that they intend to apply the franchise tag to him.

Higgins joined the Bengals as the 33rd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the very same draft they selected franchise quarterback Joe Burrow first overall. He immediately proved himself a valuable and efficient pass catcher, hauling in an impressive 215 receptions for 3028 yards and 19 touchdowns over his first three seasons.

At only 25 years old, Higgins was set to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career, but the franchise tag will keep him on the Bengals on a one-year, $21.8 million contract. Given this year's shocking explosion in the salary cap, it should be a bargain for the Bengals. 

Meanwhile, the tag will provide Higgins with a chance to rehab his value. 2023 was his worst season as a pro, as injuries meant he finished with career lows in starts (11), receiving yards (656), and touchdowns (5). If he can bounce back and reestablish the productivity he demonstrated earlier in his career, he should land a massive deal in 2025. He could easily flirt with $25 million per year on a long-term extension or even more if he hits the open market.

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