Latest Joe Burrow comments on Tee Higgins could mean franchise tag is coming

Could Higgins be getting franchise tagged?

Oct 16, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) and wide
Oct 16, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) and wide / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals' offseason has officially begun and Joe Burrow kicked things off with a bang. The Bengals quarterback, who missed the final seven games this season due to a torn ligament in his wrist, was asked what the future might hold for wide receiver Tee Higgins. Burrow said that he expects Higgins to be back with the team.

"I expect Tee [Higgins] to be back. That's the sentiment in the locker room. "

Joe Burrow

While Burrow claims he made sure there were plans in place for guys like Higgins when getting his own contract taken care of, something to keep in mind here is that Higgins has the same agent as Jessie Bates. Sure, Higgins has said all of the right things when it comes to his future in Cincinnati but an agent's job is to make sure their client gets the most money possible and that's what he'll be aiming to do for Higgins this spring.

Bates, a safety, ended up with a massive four-year deal worth $64 million with the Falcons, per Over the Cap. Higgins is projected to earn a four-year, $74 million deal according to Spotrac, which would pay him approximately $18.6 million a year.

Joe Burrow says that Tee Higgins will be back but money talks.

If nothing else, Burrow's comments make it sound as though the Bengals will be slapping Higgins with the franchise tag this offseason. The wide receiver franchise tag is going to cost approximately $20 million, according to CBs Sports so the Bengals will need to either pay Higgins that in 2024 or sign him to a new deal that could pay less each year but will eat into their salary cap down the road.

While Higgins has been a phenomenal player during his Bengals tenure, the sad fact of the matter is that he's coming off his worst year and he was injured throughout the season. The team has already paid Burrow and they'll be getting ready to pay Ja'Marr Chase this spring. Spending a huge chunk of money on a quarterback and two receivers probably isn't the best investment but if Burrow wants Higgins back and the receiver is willing to take less money, maybe a deal gets done.

Kelsey Conway noted before the season started that Higgins and the Bengals weren't close to getting an extension done. As she noted again after Burrow's comments, it's not always about wants when it comes to money. If Higgins can get more money somewhere else, then he'll likely go where he'll get paid more.

One thing's for sure and that's that this is sure to be one heck of an interesting offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals.


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