Bengals’ true stance on Tee Higgins trade after offseason demand

The Bengals have a plan for Tee Higgins

Tee Higgins with question marks around him

The Cincinnati Bengals reportedly have made it clear behind the scenes that they have no plans to trade wide receiver Tee Higgins, who is on the franchise tag for the 2024 season, according to Jeremy Fowler.

The Bengals have not been able to agree to a long-term contract with Tee Higgins, and it might be tough for them to do so past this season with Joe Burrow in an extension and Ja’Marr Chase in line to get a large contract as well. The Bengals intend to keep Higgins for at least this year to try to make a run at the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship. Having the wide receiver duo of Ja’Marr Chase and Higgins makes it easier for the Bengals to achieve that goal.

Higgins did request a trade from the Bengals earlier this offseason, but despite that, he did say that he does expect to play for the Bengals in 2024. Being on the franchise tag, Higgins is scheduled to count for just about $21.8 million against the salary cap for the Bengals in 2024. He is eligible to be tagged for a second time for 2025, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Bengals will go that route.

While Burrow and Chase rightfully get the headlines for the Bengals, Higgins is one of the better receivers in the league, and he forms arguably the best receiving duo in the league with Chase. However, Higgins had a bit of a down year in 2023. It had to do with him missing five games, as well as the injuries to Joe Burrow. The Bengals had some rough luck altogether from an injury standpoint in 2023, and when healthy, they are a dangerous team in the AFC.

The Bengals seemingly got their work done in free agency, and they will look ahead to the draft that approaches in just over a week.

After tagging Higgins and making some other moves in free agency, the Bengals are set to go with the best player available when they are on the clock in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Bengals are a bit higher than they are used to in this year’s draft, as they will pick 18th in the first round. There are some quality players that Cincinnati can add at positions of need.

This is a deep wide receiver draft, and picking someone in the first round like Brian Thomas Jr. or Adonai Mitchell could help prepare for the potential departure of Higgins next offseason. Tyler Boyd is not returning, so the rookie could take up that role in his first year and be brought along.

Regardless, the Bengals are hoping to make a potential last run at the Super Bowl with Higgins on the roster in 2024.

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