Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Tee Higgins contract: Bengals WR seeking similar deal as an AFC South counterpart, per report

Tee Higgins has no interest in resetting the market for receivers, but the Cincinnati Bengals veteran is hoping to be paid his worth. Higgins, who reportedly reaffirmed his desire to be traded last week, was initially looking for a deal that was similar to the three-year, $70 million extension Michael Pittman recently signed with the Indianapolis Colts, according to Cincinnati.com. The Bengals haven’t come close to the $20 million-per-year range for Higgins, per the report. 

Pittman’s salary is the ninth highest among receivers, according to Over The Cap. Given his production so far, it’s safe to say that Higgins is deserving of a similar deal. The difference, however, is that Pittman is the Colts’ No. 1 receiver, while Higgins plays alongside perennial Pro Bowler Ja’Marr Chase, who like Higgins is in line for a new contract sometime over the next year. 

It’s clear that the Bengals don’t appear to be willing to pay Higgins his market value beyond 2024, as he is slated to play under the franchise tag that would pay him $21.816 million. While that is very good money for a receiver, the franchise tag offers no financial protection beyond this upcoming season. Higgins surely wants to secure his future with a new deal, which is why he wants to be traded to a team that would want to invest in him for the long haul if the Bengals aren’t willing to do so. 

There are plenty of teams that would be willing to give up significant capital in order to acquire Higgins, who has played an integral role in Cincinnati’s turnaround over the past three years. But the Bengals have consistently said that they want Higgins back for another championship pursuit in 2024, Higgins’ trade request be dammed. 

“We’re excited for Tee to have a great year for us,” Taylor said prior to last week’s NFL Draft. “We think he’s our best chance to help us win a Super Bowl. I’ve enjoyed working with Tee the last four years, I expect this year to be no different.”

Higgins has also expressed his desire to remain in Cincinnati, which selected him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. But Higgins, based on his trade request, only wants to play for the Bengals if they are willing to pay him what he is worth. 

This situation is similar to the one former Bengals safety Jessie Bates III experienced in 2022. Bates was a key contributor to Cincinnati’s rise, but like Higgins, he wasn’t able to find a middle ground with the Bengals on a long-term deal. Bates played his final year in Cincinnati under the tag before he signed a four-year deal with the Falcons last offseason that made him the NFL’s highest-paid safety. 

Higgins, who shares the agent as Bates, appears to be going down the same path as his former teammate, unless the Bengals decide to trade him or have a change of heart when it comes to matching Higgins’ contract hopes.

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