Bleacher Report advocates for why Bengals should sign Tyler Higbee in 2024

Higbee has spent his entire career with the Rams
Sep 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (89) carries the
Sep 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (89) carries the / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

We're only seven weeks into the NFL season but so far, the Cincinnati Bengals have to be disappointed with what they've gotten from Irv Smith Jr. The Bengals have opted not to draft tight ends over the past few years and roll with a free-agent option instead.

Previously, it worked out okay, with Hayden Hurst doing well during his one year in Cincinnati, signing a big contract, and departing in free agency. The Bengals were hoping it'd be the same story with Smith but that has not been the case, as he has just six catches in four games.

Well, Bleacher Report thinks that the Bengals should stick to their signing a free-agent tight end approach next offseason and ink Rams tight end Tyler Higbee to a contract.

"The Bengals' arsenal for Burrow is bound for an overhaul next season. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are set to hit the open market, and it's unlikely the Bengals will have the resources to bring back even one of them—let alone both. Getting another top receiver in the free-agent market could be tough, too. The Bengals could opt to set their quarterback up with an upgrade at tight end at a much more reasonable cost, though.

Tyler Higbee has proven to be a well-rounded tight end who can serve as a solid option in the passing game. The Bengals have enjoyed good seasons from C.J. Uzomah and Hayden Hurst as tight ends in this system, but Irv Smith Jr. hasn't panned out the same way."

BR NFL Staff

Bleacher Report says Bengals should sign Tyler Higbee next year

Higbee, a former fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky in 2016, has spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Rams where he's started over 100 games. He's not someone who puts up a crazy stat line each season but he's a reliable pass-catcher for his quarterback.

Higbee's best season statistically came in 2019 when he caught 69 passes for 734 yards and three touchdowns. In 2020 and 2021, he found the end zone five times each year. Through seven games this season, Higbee has 21 catches for 241 yards and is averaging 11.5 yards per catch.

Again, Higbee isn't someone who's going to light up the stat sheet like Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews but he'd be an upgrade over Smith. The Bengals don't necessarily need a game-changing tight end for their offense but Higbee could be a key target for Joe Burrow on crucial third-down situations, much like Hurst was during his time with the team in 2022.

Perhaps the Rams will try to keep Higbee in Los Angeles for another few years but if he's available in free agency this spring, the Cincinnati Bengals might as well attempt to sign him and see what he can offer. Even if they do this, it wouldn't take them out of the running to draft a tight end, which is something they absolutely should do in 2024.

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