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Duke Tobin discusses Tee Higgins’ impending free agency: Is the franchise tag in play?

“I want Tee Higgins back.” Will he be back?

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NFL: DEC 16 Vikings at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Will the Bengals keep Tee Higgins?

That’s arguably the team’s biggest storyline heading into what’s sure to be a busy offseason. After all, Higgins, alongside Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin, are all set to hit NFL free agency, so the wide receiver room could look very different come this fall.

Thankfully, the Bengals do have the franchise tag in their back pocket, and Higgins is worthy of that high price tag, which is expected to be in the $20 million range.

During the Senior Bowl festivities down in Mobile (AL), Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin was asked about Higgins potentially getting hit with the franchise tag but stayed mum on the subject.

“I don’t think I’m going to be breaking any news today,” Tobin said when asked about tagging Higgins via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Last year, Tee Higgins was under contract to us. He was a guy that we drafted for that reason, to be a contributor for us. He’s not under contract now, so we’re going to have to work through how to do that and if it’s possible and we’ll have to go through the gymnastics of that. So it’s a different scenario than it was last year. Trading a high-level player that’s under contract just because the future might demand it, that’s never really on my mind.

”We’ll see what happens this year. I want Tee Higgins back. Everyone on our team would like to have Tee Higgins back. Again, there’s one pie, and how big of a slice that takes and what else we can’t do because of it, we’ll have to determine, and we’ll see.”

The Bengals have until March 5th to either sign Higgins to an extension or use the franchise tag on him. My guess is the decision goes right up to the deadline, assuming both sides try to hammer out a long-term deal before the tag can be used.

Let’s just hope Higgins is still on the team when the 2024 season begins.