Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins requests trade

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins on Monday requested a trade, according to multiple reports.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the Higgins request.

The engals used the franchise tag to keep Higgins on their roster for 2024, but after not being able to reach an agreement for a long-term contract last year and no indication a new deal will get done, Higgins is ready to move on, Schefter reported.

According to Schefter’s unnamed sources, Higgins is disappointed that the team has not had any talks about a long-term contract extension since March 2023.

Bengals executive Duke Tobin did not rule out the possibility of a trade when asked about it at the NFL Combine two weeks ago, but the organization wouldn’t have used the franchise tag on him without the intent of him playing for the team in 2024. The tag is worth around $21.8 million, fully guaranteed.

“The message is we really like Tee, and we’re a better team with Tee,” Tobin said Feb. 27, a day after the organization announced the use of the franchise tag. “In terms of our intentions going forward and answering hypotheticals of what could and couldn’t come about, you know, I won’t get into that. But we feel like we’re a better team with him. The reason we franchised him is because we would like to have him. He’s not under contract. And it’s hard for me to predict all the different scenarios that could happen. But you know we feel strongly about Tee Higgins and his fit with us.”

Higgins likely could have gotten top receiver money elsewhere and the stability of a long-term contract is much more appeasing to a player, especially one that endured injuries last season.

The Bengals and Higgins have until mid-July to get a long-term deal done, if he does remain with the organization. Otherwise, Higgins will be set to play on the one-year tender. Tobin said he’s never been through that process of a tag-and-trade, so it would be new to him, but not something he ruled out – like he did last year when he squashed rumors that Higgins could be on the trading block.

“I’ve never done one,” Tobin said of a tag-and-trade. “So again, we tagged him with the intent of him playing for us. He’s a good player. We want good players. He fits us perfectly. So we tagged him for that reason. The hypotheticals of what could happen, you know, it’s hard for me to comment on.”

Higgins, the team’s No. 33 overall in 2020 behind Joe Burrow, was a key part of the rebuild that led to Cincinnati’s first playoff wins in 31 years leading up to a Super Bowl LVI appearance his second season. He had 908 yards receiving as a rookie when Burrow played just 10 games, and Higgins followed that with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and 2022, helping the Bengals to back-to-back AFC Championships.

This final season of his rookie deal was impacted by a pair of injuries, including a rib fracture and hamstring injury that limited him to 12 games and just 656 yards receiving and five touchdowns.

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