The storyline of the offseason will be what will happen with Tee Higgins. Will the Bengals decide to extend him? Will they slap him with the franchise tag and then trade him? Or will they let him walk in free agency? It should be an interesting few months following the 2023 season.
Higgins said all of the right things leading up to this season but the sad reality is that he's a WR1 who has been masquerading as a WR2 in Cincinnati. A team will be willing to pay him like a WR1 and with the Bengals needing to pay Chase this offseason, it might not be the smartest strategy for them to pay two receivers big-time bucks.
Joe Mixon is the only player included here who isn't scheduled to be a free agent this spring. So why is he on here then, you ask? Well, the Bengals can save $5.7 million by cutting Mixon this offseason, according to Spotrac. That money will be important when making deals with Chase and potentially D.J. Reader as well (who we'll get to in a minute) plus any other key free agents the team wants to home in on.
As unfair as it is, running backs aren't typically kept around once they get past a certain age and Mixon is at that age now (he's 27 and will turn 28 in July). The Bengals have gotten to see what Chase Brown can do over the past few weeks and he's looked pretty good so maybe it's time to hand the reigns over to him and also draft another running back in the later rounds to pair with him.