Latest update regarding Tee Higgins will worry Bengals fans

Fans in Cincinnati won't be happy to hear this.
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals fans won't be happy to hear the latest update regarding wide receiver Tee Higgins. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Higgins still has yet to sign his franchise tender and is not expected to by next week, which is when Cincinnati's OTAs are set to begin. Higgins can't rejoin the team until he signs his tender.

Leverage play

By not signing the tender, Higgins is trying to use whatever leverage he has in the situation as he continues to seek a long-term extension with the team. He's likely hoping that the organization will feel some added pressure to get a deal done if he misses OTAs, or at least threatens to. After all, the team has made it clear that they think they have a better shot to win with Higgins out on the field, and no franchise wants a lingering contract dispute hanging over its head.

Will it work? Only time will tell, but his trade request clearly didn't, so now he's resorting to more drastic measures.

Delaying the inevitable?

Ultimately, Higgins might just be delaying the inevitable. If the Bengals don't want to trade him they don't have to, as he's contractually obligated to play for the team next season. If he doesn't, he could cost himself a whole lot of money. For that reason, it seems unlikely that he'll actually withhold his sercvices once the season rolls around.

Sure, he's trying to apply some pressure over the offseason, but if a deal doesn't materialize, the most likely scenario is that Higgins will eventually sign the tender and suit up for Cincinnati in 2024. He might not be happy about it, but that's just the nature of the business sometime. If he goes out there and has a great season in 2024, it will help him out at the negotiating table next offseason.