Green was franchise-tagged and continues to try to lock up a long-term deal but could be a free agent in 2021 if that doesn’t happen, and 2017 first-round pick John Ross is in the final year of his rookie contract with a fifth-year option he needs to earn by proving he can get through a season healthy.
Taylor said drafting Higgins has no impact on Green’s future but Higgins was someone the Bengals didn’t feel like they could pass on, despite getting trade offers for the 33rd pick.
Higgins was ecstatic about the idea of playing alongside Green, who he’s followed since Green was playing at Georgia. Higgins has been a Bengals fan ever since the Bengals selected Green in the first round of the 2011 draft, and he was hoping they would take him after he fell to Day 2.
“Just getting a call from my favorite team in the NFL is surreal,” Higgins said. “Being able to call myself a Cincinnati Bengal is crazy. Being able to play with Joe (Burrow), he’s a guy with great character, he tore it up on the college field and I know he’s going to tear it up in the league. So, I’m really looking forward to building that chemistry with him and going out there and tearing up defenses.”
The Oak Ridge (Tenn.) native became a fan of Green because he’s a similar type of player – bigger than most of the defensive backs he faces – and he tries to model his game after him. He also sounds a bit like former Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, as they both apparently share the same love of McDonalds.
Higgins said he was eating Buffalo Wild Wings during the draft Friday but planned to go out and celebrate later by getting a double cheeseburger and fries. Higgins was aware of Johnson’s own addiction to McDonald’s, but didn’t know that Johnson had been endorsing him on social media Thursday. On Twitter, Johnson called Higgins a game-changer and he should have been selected in the first round.
Now that just adds to the connection Higgins already felt like he had with the Bengals.
“Once I talked to (coach Taylor), I was like that is a guy I want to play for,” Higgins said. “Ever since then, I knew it was a special connection with the Bengals, man. I’m just glad I’m a Bengal now.”