One of the biggest talking points this offseason will be about Tee Higgins and what the Cincinnati Bengals will decide to do with him. The two sides did not come to an agreement on an extension before the regular season so when the offseason officially kicks off they can either sign him to a new contract, slap him with the franchise tag, or let him walk.
It's worth noting here that if the Bengals do decide to go the franchise tag route that trading Higgins could still be in the cards too. Brad Spielberger of PFF released his list of the top 50 free agents for 2024 and Higgins came in at number four on the list. Spielberger predicts that the Bengals will use the franchise tag on Higgins.
"Injuries have hampered almost the entire 2023 season for Higgins after his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2022 with a receiving grade above 75.0. A franchise tag already seemed likely heading into the season, and with little new data to impact the negotiation either way, that seems inevitable. The field-stretching, jump-ball receiver should have the chance to bounce back in 2024 along with the entire Bengals team following a disappointing season."- Brad Spielberger
Will Bengals use the franchise tag on Tee Higgins?
Higgins was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft and has basically been a WR1 during his Bengals tenure despite actually being the WR2. Spotrac has his market value at four years, $64 million with an annual salary of $16.4 million. In comparison, Over the Cap projects that the wide receiver franchise tag would cost a little over $21 million.
If the Bengals do decide to use the franchise tag on Higgins, it wouldn't surprise me in the least bit if they traded him from there. Letting him walk without getting anything in exchange for him would also not be a wise move though so I agree that this is probably the route the Bengals will take.