3 dark horse teams that could steal Tee Higgins away from Bengals in 2025

He'll likely play in Cincinnati this season, but what about beyond?
Cincinnati Bengals, Tee Higgins
Cincinnati Bengals, Tee Higgins / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

A few days ago, we found out that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins would sign his franchise tender and be present when training camp kicks off.

This came as a welcomed bit of news for Bengals fans, as it's been a couple of months of uncertainty regarding the future of Higgins.

Now, it looks like the 25-year-old will play out the 2024 season on the franchise tender, but ultimately, he could wind up a free agent next offseason.

There are some less obvious teams who may come to play for Higgins' services in 2025, so let's take a look at three of them.

If Tee Higgins plays out 2024 and enters free agency, he'll have plenty of suitors

Had Higgins been a free agent this year, you could have made the argument that he would be at the very top of the list of wideouts. Next year, he could have a line out the door for his services.

But, what are some teams that might not be mentioned at first, yet make sense for Higgins? Assuming he wants the bag, and maybe winning isn't everything, two of the following three certainly count as some wild cards.

Chicago Bears

What? The Bears? But, they have D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze in the receiver room?

Correct. They sure do. But, Allen is a free agent in 2025 and Moore's deal runs through 2025. By then, Odunze will be entering Year 3 of his rookie deal. And, by all accounts, the Bears have wanted to do absolutely everything they possibly can to help Caleb Williams succeed.

Chicago could replace Keenan Allen with the younger Higgins, and ultimately their future belongs to Higgins and Odunze. It sounds crazy right now, but come the 2025 offseason, it is certainly within the realm of possibilities.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are hoping to take a step forward in 2024, but even if they do, it likely won't be a huge one. Bryce Young needs to show some growth, but the Panthers still need to figure out their long-term plan at wide receiver.

For now, they have Diontae Johnson, Adam Thielen, rookie Xavier Legette and second-year pro Jonathan Mingo. But, Johnson is set to become a free agent in 2025 and Thielen can be cut next offseason with a $3 million savings.

If the Panthers want to continue a youth movement at receiver, and if they viewed Higgins as a must-sign over a guy like Johnson (and that's the correct take), then they make a ton of sense.

Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray is the future in Arizona, for now. Marvin Harrison Jr. could be a star in the making and he hasn't even taken an NFL snap just yet. But, if the Cardinals have an opportunity to pair Higgins with Harrison, who is on a rookie deal starting this season of course, then they should do it. By all means, throw a blank check at Higgins.

Thinking about an offense featuring Murray, Higgins, Harrison, tight end Trey McBride and running back Trey Benson ... now that's a fun thought. Maybe, the Cardinals won't be an afterthought, and sooner rather than later.