Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Though a Long-Term Deal May Still Be a Possibility, Absent a Holdout, The Bengals Should Have Their Clutch Second Wide Receiver Back In 2024

by Chris Ball

Loveland, OhioAs most expected, this weekend the Cincinnati Bengals applied the franchise tag to wide receiver Tee Higgins. I previously discussed what the franchise tag could potentially mean for the team and for Tee going forward, but the fact that the Bengals chose to use the tag so soon in the offseason leads to some interesting speculation about what the future could bring.

The franchise tag makes it extremely likely that Tee Higgins will be on this team for at least one more year. However, as early as a few days ago there were reports that both sides were working towards a deal that would keep Higgins in the orange and black for multiple years. But the fact that the team opted immediately resort to the franchise tag so soon after those negotiations even began leads to legitimate concerns that both sides are still miles apart.



The absolute worst-case scenario is that the two sides of can’t get a deal done and Tee refuses to report and play under the guaranteed one-year contract he has been given. On the other end the optimistic outlook is that the exercise of the franchise tag allows both sides to continue to negotiate and come to some sort of agreement on a contract that benefits all parties.

The fact that the franchise tag came so early in the offseason is a legitimate cause to be concerned about how badly the negotiations may be going. And yet, it is hard to see a player as committed as Tee Higgins choosing to abandon the entire 2024 season by sitting out simply because he didn’t get the contract he wanted.

At the same time, Bengals fans shouldn’t trick themselves into believing that Higgins will fetch some sort of massive haul on the trade market. The tag and trade scenarios simply don’t make sense given the Bengals’ history of avoiding that very situation, and that most teams likely wouldn’t be willing to part with significant picks or players that would make such a trade worthwhile for the Bengals.



The Bengals have a surplus of cap space, and they need a proven second option behind Ja’Marr Chase. This gives them more flexibility to keep Tee on the squad for one more year to run it back and give the Bengals the best chance to make it back to the Super Bowl.

The primary focus now should be ensuring that if the Bengals can’t give Tee Higgins the multi year contract that he wants, that they get him ready for at least one more year with the Bengals to make a run at a championship.

Christopher Ball is a longtime Loveland resident and an attorney. He graduated from Loveland High School in 2003 and was a member of the football team before going on to become a coach’s assistant at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He has been following and rooting for the Reds and Bengals since the early 1990s and has been through the many ups and downs that fandom has wrought over the years.


Your comments can change our community

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.