There has been a lot of smoke around the Cincinnati Bengals extending wide receiver Tee Higgins lately. Reports of a contract being done, paired with the Bengals social media team posting a lot of Higgins content have had fans on the edge of their seats waiting for an announcement.
To some, it feels like a deal is imminent, but to some around the league, they still don’t see how the Bengals can pay Higgins while also locking down Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase to long-term deals.
Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic, some league executives still think the Bengals should prepare to lose Higgins after the 2023 season, citing how much it would cost and how impactful Chase is.
“Higgins is good, but I think you let Higgins walk,” one assistant coach told Howe.
“Honestly, you may want to try to trade him this year while there’s value and then go draft a young receiver. He’s really good in that system. He’s a good receiver, but I don’t think he’s so dynamic that you can’t replace his value or production. Chase is going to command so much more attention, that whoever is playing opposite of him is going to get favorable matchups.”
That assistant coach wasn’t the only one, as a league executive said something similar to Howe.
“If it was me, and I’m Cincinnati, and they have a little bit of a runway from the success over the past two years, I would look for the replacement,” an executive told Howe. “I would go heavy on signing (Burrow) and Ja’Marr Chase and let Tee Higgins play out the year and look for his replacement. Or if there is some unbelievable trade option, consider that.”
Duke Tobin has made it clear that the Bengals will not be trading Higgins. In fact, Tobin said that if NFL teams want a receiver as good as Higgins, they can “get (their) own.”
Burrow and Higgins are both eligible for new deals now, with the focus likely being on Burrow’s first. One mode of thinking is that handling Higgins’ contract first could allow the Bengals to get more creative with the structure of Burrow’s extension.
Some around the league may say the Bengals should prepare to move on from Higgins. Luckily for us, the front office doesn’t typically seem to care about the opinions of those around the league.