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Bengals Place Franchise Tag on Tee Higgins

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The Cincinnati Bengals have decided to place the franchise tag on WR Tee Higgins. This decision comes as no surprise given Higgins' impressive performance and significant contributions to the team's success over the last few seasons. It ensures the Bengals will keep Higgins for the 2024 season, while they work with the Clemson product on a new deal in the summer. The former second round pick will receive a guaranteed salary of $21.8 million for the upcoming season.

Since being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2020 Draft, Tee Higgins has rapidly ascended as a prominent force in the team's passing game. Standing at 6'4" with a combination of speed, agility, and reliable hands, Higgins has quickly become a favorite target for QB Joe Burrow. Last season, when Burrow when out with a wrist injury, backup Jake Browning came in and Higgins did not miss a beat. In one of the games that Burrow was out, Higgins had a season high 140 yards in a loss to the Steelers.

In his first four seasons in the league, Higgins has amassed impressive statistics, recording over 3,600 receiving yards and 24 scores, while also averaging 14.3 yards per reception. His ability to stretch the field vertically and make contested catches has made him a valuable asset for the Bengals' offense, contributing significantly to their resurgence as playoff contenders.

The franchise tag allows NFL teams to retain the rights to a player set to become an unrestricted free agent. By placing the franchise tag on Tee Higgins, the Bengals send a clear message that they view him as an integral part of their long-term plans. The one-year deal comes with a guaranteed salary of $21.8 million, reflecting both Higgins' talent and the team's commitment to rewarding his on-field contributions. They have until Monday, July 17th to reach a new deal with Higgins. If they do not reach a deal by then, he will be locked in on the tag until the 2025 season begins and he will then be a free agent.

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Securing Tee Higgins for the upcoming season ensures that the Bengals will maintain continuity in their passing game. The Burrow-Higgins connection, which showed promising signs of developing into one of the league's most dynamic duos, will have another opportunity to flourish. This move not only solidifies the receiving corps but also provides Burrow with a familiar and reliable target as he continues to lead the Bengals' offense.

While the franchise tag guarantees Tee Higgins a hefty salary, it also poses challenges for the Bengals in managing their salary cap. The team will need to make tough decisions to ensure financial flexibility and maintain a competitive roster especially with Joe Burrow contract extension kicking in next season. Long-term contract negotiations may still be in the cards, as the franchise tag serves as a temporary measure to keep a player of Higgins' caliber on the fold.

As the Bengals gear up for 2024, the franchise tag on Tee Higgins signals their commitment to building on the successes of recent years. The combination of a quarterback in Joe Burrow and star wide receivers Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins bodes well for the team's future. The decision to secure Higgins with the franchise tag reflects the Bengals' belief in their core players and their determination to continue their ascent in the highly competitive landscape of the NFL.

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