The 2023 season for the Bengals was definitely not what fans were expecting. Unfortunately, injuries was the name of the game this season, and that's really why Cincinnati's season ended as early as it did.
But, in many ways, starting fresh and succeeding next season starts now. Joe Burrow getting healthy is the first key to a successful season, but navigating free agency carefully will be crucial to the team's success next season. Many Bengals will become free agents soon, so let's take a look at three unrestricted free agents whose departures would be felt, and may even hurt the team next year.
Out of all of the Bengals free agents, Tee Higgins is probably the one that most are talking about. Since joining the Bengals in 2020, Higgins has impressed and delivered. In the 2023 season, Higgins had 42 catches, 656 yards, and five touchdowns. The numbers are impressive since Higgins missed time this season.
In Week 17 against the Chiefs, Higgins caught a pass from Jake Browning on a third & 7 for a first down in the first quarter. That went for 19 yard, and it's just one example that shows Higgins' capability. It is weird to think that this could have been the last season that we got to see Joe Burrow connect with Tee Higgins and make a play, but unfortunately, this could very much turn into a reality. And just like that, one integral member of the wide receiver trio could be making huge plays elsewhere.
Probability of Staying: 40%
Keeping Tee Higgins makes sense, but also letting him go makes sense. Higgins is talented, and has been a huge playmaker over the years; however, it almost feels as if the Bengals have prepared for the scenario that Higgins walks. The new editions of Andrei Iosivas and Charlie Jones have proved to be good choices, as both had impressive rookie seasons. Higgins is seasoned, but keeping him around may become too expensive.
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