NFL salary cap just gifted Bengals perfect offseason scenario

The league's salary cap is taking a big jump, and Cincinnati could capitalize.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) run to the
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) run to the / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

The NFL announced that the salary cap for the 2024 season will be a record-high $255.4 per team next season. That number represents an increase of over 13 percent compared to last season, and that should be very good news for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals were already projected to have a whole lot of cap space to improve and fortify the roster over the offseason, and now they'll have even more. It will obviously be up to Cincinnati's front office to decide how they want to allocate all of the funds, but they could potentially have the money to lock up a pair of key playmakers.

Cincinnati could now potentially have the ability to sign Tee Higgins to a new contract, while also locking down an extension for wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, all while paying quarterback Joe Burrow the piles of money due to him as a result of the massive extension he signed last year.

There has been a ton of speculation about what the Bengals plan to do with Higgins, specifically, The team is expected to use the franchise tag on Higgins, but they also still hope to sign him to an extension, according to NFL insider Tony Pauline.

"Sources close to the Bengals tell me the team is trying to negotiate a contract extension with Higgins to lock him up for the next several years," Pauline wrote recently. "If the team cannot agree to terms with the wideout by March 5, they’ll tag him but continue to negotiate with the hopes of signing him long term before the start of the season."

Last month, Burrow made it clear that he wants Higgins to stay in Cincinnati for the long-term.

"It's no secret, our relationship," Burrow said. "I expect Tee to be back. I think that's the sentiment in the locker room. We all want Tee back. . . . We know what kind of player he is. We know what kind of person he is. He's what being a Bengal is all about."

Chase is also extension eligible, and given the fact that he's established himself as one of the best pass-catchers in the entire league, it seems likely that Cincinnati will want to lock him up. However, it is fair to wonder if committing huge salaries to two receivers is an ideal team-building approach in today's NFL.

Either way, having to decide what to do with ample cap space certainly isn't a bad problem for a team to have, and in that regard, the Bengals are in a pretty enviable position heading into free agency.