Bengals fans will love Jessie Bates' advice for Tee Higgins

Bates has experience when it comes to being franchise tagged in Cincinnati.
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

Jessie Bates III knows a thing or two about being franchised tagged by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played under the tag in Cincinnati during the 2022 NFL season before signing a four-year, $64 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons last offseason.

In many ways, what Bates went through with the Bengals mirrors what wide receiver Tee Higgins is currently experiencing. Like Bates, Higgins is unhappy about the lack of a long-term contract with the Bengals, and he's equally unhappy about playing under the tag next season.

Both players were tagged by the Bengals in early March, and Higgins has yet to sign the franchise tender. Bates didn't end up signing his until late August in 2022, In the meantime, Bates threatened not to play for the team under the tag, but he eventually acquiesced and suited up for Cincinnati. Then, he got a nice payday with a different organization the following year.

Bates' advice to Higgins

Given his history and experience with being tagged by the Bengals, Bates shared some sage advice for Higgins that the star receiver would be wise to adhere to.

"I've been through that process through the franchise tag, and I let it weigh on me a little bit more than I should have and it affected my play and how I was living my day-to-day life," Bates said. "My thing for Tee is just, I mean, work on your craft, it don't matter. If this is the contract year, I say it every time: Every year is a contract year. You should go out there and ball out and train like this is one of your last years to play.”

Basically, Bates' advice to Higgins is to control what he can control. He can't control his contract situation, but he can control how he plays out on the field, and if he has a stellar season in 2024 it will only help him when it comes time to sign a new contract -- either with the Bengals or another team -- next year.