NFL Trade Rumors: Wide Receiver Tee Higgins Expects to Stay With Cincinnati Bengals

It appears the Cincinnati Bengals will retain their key pass catcher for at least another year. Speaking with WLWT, wide receiver Tee Higgins reveals he expects to play for the Bengals during the 2024 season. 

Whether Higgins plays out on his $21.816 million franchise tag or lands an extension with the Bengals remains to be seen.

Higgins is a tricky negotiation as far as wide receivers go. He's coming off his worst season as a pro, setting career lows in receptions (42), receiving yards (656), and touchdowns (5). Of course, there were mitigating circumstances: Higgins missed five games due to injury, and starting quarterback Joe Burrow missed seven starts due to a wrist injury.

At his peak, Higgins has definitely been an above-average receiver: He totalled 3028 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns at an efficient 9.3 yards per target over his first three seasons in the league. Still, that's difficult production to justify breaking the bank for, especially given that the Bengals recently made Burrow the highest-paid player in the league ($55M per year) and WR1 Ja'Marr Chase is extension-eligible. On the open market, Higgins could probably expect to land a deal similar to the four-year, $92 million contract Calvin Ridley signed with the Tennessee Titans. 

Notoriously one of the least wealthy teams in the league, the Bengals have to be careful not to overextend themselves by trying to keep their current core together. If they want to eventually win a Super Bowl, they need to be a better team than they've been: They've yet to finish better than seventh in points scored since drafting Burrow. It will be all but impossible to improve on that if the Bengals eventually find themselves committing nearly $100 million per year on Burrow, Chase, and Higgins. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but the Bengals may be better off looking for an upgrade on Higgins or at least a better bargain.

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