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Tee Higgins' time with the Cincinnati Bengals appears to be running out as he and the team will not come to terms on a long-term extension by the NFL's Monday, July 15 deadline for teams to do so with franchise-tagged players, per NFL Media

Higgins is the sole player of the eight to be tagged this offseason to not receive a new deal. The other seven were Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (four years, $98 million), Giants edge rusher Brian Burns (five years, $141 million, traded from Carolina Panthers after being tagged), Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (four years, $76 million), Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (three years, $70 million), Jacksonville Jaguars edge rusher Josh Hines-Allen (five years, $141.25 million), Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (four years, $84.1 million) and Titans cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (four years, $76.4 million, traded from Chiefs after being tagged). 

Tee Higgins
CIN • WR • #5
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Higgins signed his one-year franchise tender on June 15. The star wide receiver had been away from the team and did not attend mandatory minicamp while seeking a contract extension. Cincinnati placed the franchise tag on Higgins in late February, preventing the 25-year-old from hitting the open market in free agency. Under the tag, Higgins will make $21.816 million fully guaranteed for the 2024 season. 

"I'm excited to move forward with Tee," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said in the official team announcement after Higgins signed his franchise tag. "He's done a great job handling his situation, and we are happy to get him back in the fold so we can start working toward a great 2024 season. The locker room will be excited to have him back around."

This turn of events has become somewhat common for the Bengals in recent seasons. After Higgins was tagged, it led to a trade request, which was not granted by the team and ultimately led to him signing his tender. That is a similar circumstance to prior Bengals players like safety Jessie Bates III and offensive tackle Jonah Williams. Bates' situation somewhat mirrored Higgins' as he was tagged by Cincinnati in 2022, which led to speculation about a possible trade. In the end, he signed the tag and played that season before departing in free agency. As for Williams, he requested a trade last offseason, but ended up staying with the team and played out the year before also leaving in free agency earlier this offseason. 

Of course, it remains to be seen if Higgins will follow down a similar path and ultimately leave the franchise, but it will be curious to see how Cincinnati handles his future, especially with the looming contract extension coming for fellow receiver Ja'Marr Chase

Higgins has spent his entire career with the Bengals after the franchise drafted him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Clemson. In that time, he's established himself as a top-tier pass catcher who should fetch a considerable contract whenever he does reach free agency in the not-too-distant future. In his four seasons in the league, Higgins has topped 1,000 yards receiving twice and has scored at least five touchdowns in each season. 

Last year, Higgins was limited to 12 games due to a nagging hamstring injury. He finished the year with 656 yards and five touchdowns on 42 receptions.