Getty The Cincinnati Bengals have a huge decision to make regarding wide receiver Tee Higgins in free agency in 2024.
The Cincinnati Bengals will have to make a costly decision in free agency in 2024 involving star wide receiver Tee Higgins.
The Clemson product was the first second-round pick in 2020. That means he hits the open market after his first four seasons without the possibility of a fifth-year option – subject to an extension – and the 24-year-old won has Retention will not be cheap.
“Higgins could attract more than $25 million from a team in desperate need of a top target,” Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon predicted on November 11, listing him as one of eight NFL free agents who ” most likely” would re-sign somewhere in 2024.
“If you’re a Cincinnati Bengals fan, the good news is they can afford to keep him,” Kenyon continued. “According to Over the Cap, the Bengals have $70 million in effective cap space to date for 2024.”
“The challenge is Cincy being able to build a receiving corps around Ja’Marr Chase,” he added, noting that “it’s plausible that the Bengals decide to bolster the rest of the roster ahead of Joe Burrow’s megadeal goes into effect and Chase expects an extension next season.”
In other words, will Cincinnati pay Higgins knowing Burrow and Chase charges are on the way?
Tee Higgins also has a say in the future of the Bengals
At the end of the day, money usually counts in the sports world. That means if the Bengals make Higgins the best offer, they’ll likely get him to return.
However, it will be interesting to see what the wideout does when Cincy faces another team or looks for a “hometown discount.”
Kenyon called it an “enviable decision” for Higgins, and that’s a good way to put it.
The author explained that Higgins “can become or stay the clear No. 1 receiver in an offense.” [the same] stacked offense” that helped him make a name for himself at the NFL level.
Despite developing into one of the best young wide receivers in the game, Higgins still plays second fiddle to Chase. Not only was Chase the more productive playmaker, he is also Burrow’s former college teammate – and is the QB’s first option in most cases.
That’s not to say Higgins doesn’t get opportunities, but his average targets per game since Chase’s draft have been around seven. In comparison, Chase’s average targets per game were similar to his rookie year, but they have increased to over 11 in 2022 and 2023.
“I wouldn’t let Higgins walk, no,” Kenyon concluded. “But a receiver-hungry team could throw him a contract that Cincinnati would rather not fulfill.”
The Bengals could be without Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase in Week 10 against the Texans
Ironically, the Bengals could be without their two star wide receivers in Week 10.
According to ESPN’s Ben Baby, Higgins was ruled out by Bengals head coach Zac Taylor back on November 10th, and Chase didn’t exactly receive a strong vote of confidence.
“We’ll see,” the Cincinnati HC told reporters.
Chase was dealing with a back injury that appeared to have occurred in Week 9. “I just have to be there for my teammates right now, you know,” the WR1 said via Bengals reporter Mike Petraglia at his locker. “If I can go, I’ll go.”
“In my head I’m acting, you know what I’m saying?” Chase continued, explaining his mentality. “So, for now and everything else, we’ll see.”
If both Higgins and Chase are sidelined against the Houston Texans, the Bengals would most likely rely on backup wide receivers Trenton Irwin and Andrei Iosivas as well as tight ends Irv Smith Jr., Tanner Hudson and Drew Sample.
Wide receiver Charlie Jones was also listed as “questionable” to return in Week 10 after being sidelined with an injury due to a thumb injury. Given the state of the WR corps, the Bengals will take any help they can get.