Bengals’ WR Tee Higgins Expected to Become a Free Agent After 2023 Season

Tee Higgins with the Bengals in 2020
Tee Higgins with the Bengals in 2020. Photo by Trask Smith/CSM/Shutterstock (11667075fa)

Despite lengthy negotiations, the Cincinnati Bengals and wideout Tee Higgins failed to agree to an extension prior to the start of the 2023 season. According to a recent report by The Athletic’s Dianna Russini and Paul Dehner Jr., this will likely result in Higgins becoming a free agent in 2024.

The Bengals have a strict policy of not negotiating contracts with players during the season. They are reportedly unlikely to make an exception for Higgins, regardless of how important he is for their offense. Higgins is currently in the final year of his rookie deal and will receive $3.9 million in base salary and bonuses.

Cincinnati made several offers to Higgins in recent months, but they were all rejected, being described as “low” compared to what the 24-year-old was expecting. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the team isn’t willing to break the bank for Higgins, as they just made quarterback Joe Burrow the highest-paid player in NFL history. Also, they will likely need to give their star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase a market-resetting extension when he becomes eligible for one next offseason.

Higgins has been one of the most consistent wideouts in the league since the Bengals selected him in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Clemson product had a promising rookie campaign that saw him get 67 receptions for 908 yards and six touchdowns.

He followed that up with 74 catches, 1,000+ receiving yards, and six or more touchdowns in both of his previous two seasons.

Despite not agreeing to a new deal with Higgins, the Bengals are not in real danger of losing him in free agency. They can always place a franchise tag on him to keep him around for another year or trade him for a premium return.

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