HomeSportsTee Higgins: “I expect to play for the Bengals this season

Tee Higgins: “I expect to play for the Bengals this season

Before the start of free agency, Tee Higgins reportedly requested a trade from Cincinnati.

A month later, he sounds ready to suit up for the Bengals again.

The Bengals receiver addressed his status Sunday while speaking to reporters at a youth football camp.

“I expect so,” Higgins said about playing for Cincinnati next season. “I have developed a love for Cincy that I never expected to have. But you know what, man, I’m looking forward to it.’

That’s far from a guarantee. But it’s certainly reassuring for the Bengals and their fans as Cincinnati looks to return to Super Bowl contention after an injury-plagued 2023 season.

The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Higgins before free agency. When the two sides failed to reach a long-term deal before the start of free agency on March 13, Higgins said reportedly asked for a trade. There has been no trading since then and no mention of progress on a long-term deal.

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A new deal is not expected. If Higgins plays for the Bengals next season, he will likely do so with a franchise tag that will pay him approximately $21.8 million. That’s more than double the roughly $10.1 million he made over the four seasons of his now-expiring rookie contract. It’s a lot of money to walk away from and a powerful incentive not to stick with it.

Tee Higgins expects at least one more season with the Bengals.  (Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

Tee Higgins expects at least one more season with the Bengals. (Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

Higgins has thrived since joining the Bengals in 2020 as a rookie second-round pick out of Clemson. In four seasons, he averaged 64 catches, 921 yards (14.3 yards per reception) and six touchdowns per season. He is one of quarterback Joe Burrow’s favorite targets and is part of one of the NFL’s best receiving tandems alongside perennial Pro Bowler Ja’Marr Chase.

With their retooled offense, the Bengals advanced to the AFC Championship in consecutive seasons in 2021 and 2022, ending a five-year playoff drought. After the 2021 season, they advanced to the Super Bowl.

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They finished 9-8 in 2023 but missed the playoffs as multiple injuries, including Burrow’s, derailed their season. If Burrow returns healthy in the fall, expectations will once again be high in Cincinnati. Higgins is a big part of those plans.

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