As the Cincinnati Bengals look to extend Jessie Bates, they’ll ideally hammer out a long-term deal before the 2023 offseason begins.
That’s because star wide receiver Tee Higgins will become eligible for an extension next year, and he’s very likely to get a new deal that exceeds what Bates gets when he finally signs his long-term contract, be it in Cincinnati or elsewhere.
Case in point, Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams just got his first big contract, as he’s agreed to a three-year extension worth $60 million. ESPN reporter Adam Schefter broke the news first.
The $20 million annual value would be the third-highest of any NFL receiver, trailing only DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones, according to Over The Cap.
Chargers and WR Mike Williams reached agreement on a three-year, $60 million deal that includes $40 million guaranteed and $28 million in year one, source tells ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2022
Williams, the seventh-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft who just finished his fourth NFL season, caught 76 balls (129 targets) for 1,146 yards and nine touchdowns this past season. The 27-year-old wideout earned a 77.6 Pro Football Focus grade.
Higgins, a 2020 second-round pick who just finished his second season in Cincinnati, caught 74 passes (110 targets) for 1,091 yards and six scores. The 23-year-old star earned an 84.1 PFF grade, one of the highest of any pass-catcher in the 2021 season.
So, you can imagine Higgins’ next contract will pay him around what Williams is earning annually. This is why the current negotiations with Jessie Bates could be moving slower than expected, as he’s about to sign a massive deal that could make it harder to keep a guy like Higgins.
And we can’t forget about fellow wideout Tyler Boyd, who is also under contract through the 2023 season. That means Higgins and Boyd could both become free agents in the 2024 offseason, though I highly doubt Cincinnati will allow this to happen.
Oh, and of course, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow are going to sign even bigger extensions in the coming years as well.
Needless to say, the Bengals will need to get creative to keep most, ideally all of these guys in the fold for the foreseeable future while also upgrading the offensive line.
Today (so far)— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 8, 2022
- Aaron Rodgers back to GB
- Russell Wilson to DEN
- Chargers re-sign WR Mike Williams on 3-year, $60M deal
- Dolphins tag Mike Gesicki
- Cowboys tag Dalton Schultz
- Jaguars tag Cam Robinson
The NFL never sleeps. More is coming.