The Bengals are facing a tough decision with wide receiver Tee Higgins, who is set to become a free agent in March. However, the team has options to keep him. They could sign him to a long-term deal or use a franchise tag to extend negotiations into mid-July. If no deal is reached, Higgins has the option to sit out or play with a guaranteed salary of $20.7 million in 2024.
According to TheAthletic.com, the Bengals are expected to use the franchise tag on Higgins. They have the cap space to carry that salary in 2024, and Joe Burrow’s cap number remains relatively low before increasing significantly in 2025. Additionally, the wide receiver market’s overall makeup might benefit Higgins by waiting for a reset market to sign a multi-year deal.
With tags needing to be issued by March 5, the Bengals’ plans will become clear in the near future. The team has the ability to keep Higgins from hitting the open market, and it looks like they plan to take advantage of that opportunity.
The franchise tag gives the Bengals more time to negotiate with Higgins before making a final decision on whether or not they want to retain him beyond next season. With this extra time, they can assess his value as well as their own needs and priorities.
However, if no deal is reached by March 5th and Higgins decides not to accept any offers from other teams during free agency, he will have no choice but to sit out until he receives an offer from Cincinnati.
In conclusion, it seems that the Bengals are planning on using their franchise tag option on Tee Higgins as they have expressed interest in keeping him beyond next season. With this move, they have more time and flexibility in their negotiations with him while also securing his services for another year at least.