The Cincinnati Bengals have a decision to make with Tee Higgins this offseason. They can choose to extend him, tying him to Cincinnati for the next several years. They can choose to trade him if they don't see an extension happening and pick up some draft selections. The final option would be to do nothing and risk potentially losing him in free agency the following season and getting nothing if he signs elsewhere.
Higgins has been a huge weapon for Joe Burrow and the Bengals since joining them in 2020 as a second-round pick out of Clemson. Had Burrow not gotten injured in 2020, Higgins likely goes over the 1,000 yard mark, but he's been able to do so the past two seasons.
Higgins is coming off a year in which he caught 74 receptions for 1,029 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns in the regular season. In the playoffs, Higgins had 13 grabs for 148 yards and a touchdown.
Bengals fans hope the team extends the guy but with Burrow also being due for an extension, it makes things trickier. Higgins is essentially a WR1 but he's a WR2 in Cincinnati. If he wants to be paid like a WR1, that's where things might get messy.
To help us see what a Tee Higgins extension might look like, let's look at four players similar to Higgins who received extensions and what those contracts ended up being. These players are all receivers who were drafted in the second round. These contracts are courtesy of Spotrac.
Could Tee Higgins extension look like any of these?
- A.J. Brown - 4 years, $100 million ($25 million annually, $57.2 million guaranteed)
- Terry McLaurin - 3 years, $68.3 million ($22.78 million annually, $53.15 million guaranteed)
- D.K. Metcalf - 3 years, $72 million ($24 million annually, $58.2 million guaranteed)
- Deebo Samuel - 3 years, $71.5 million ($23.85 million annually, $58.1 million guaranteed)
These four wide receivers were second-round picks who played well and received massive deals when their rookie contracts were up. Three of the four remained with the teams that drafted them with Brown being the only one who was traded. He's also the only one who received a four-year deal as opposed to a three-year contract.
The Bengals paying Higgins similar to any of these contracts would make sense and maybe he'd be fine with the three-year deal so that he could get another big contract when he's 27 years old.
Joe Burrow will be the first priority but once he's taken care of, the attention will move to Higgins. What kind of deal will he command and will it be from the Bengals?