What tagging Tee Higgins means for another Bengals wideout

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

With the Cincinnati Bengals placing the franchise tag on Tee Higgins, another wide receiver is left to wonder if his tenure in the Queen City has reached its conclusion. 

Tyler Boyd is headed into the frontier known as free agency. The veteran is likely to get his first taste of possibly signing with another team after spending eight years with the Bengals. 

After applying the franchise tag to Higgins, there are several directions the team could take with him. The Bengals could trade him to a receiver-starved team for an exorbitant price. Also, there is still a chance that the two parties can work out a long-term deal. However, past dealings with his agent suggest otherwise. Lastly, the organization could let him play out the 2024 season under the tag and revisit the situation next offseason. 

No matter how the Bengals proceed with Higgins, don’t expect Boyd to wait for Cincinnati to figure it out. The veteran wideout will have suitors. Some teams pursuing his services will be better positioned to offer him a better salary, guarantees, and more years.

More importantly for Boyd, another team could offer him an increased role in an offense. Despite being the number one option over a three-year span that spanned Marvin Lewis' last two years and Zac Taylor's first as head coach, Boyd has been regulated to the third option and a slot receiver role after Cincinnati selected Higgins and Chase in consecutive drafts. 

Perhaps Boyd wants another opportunity to be the first or second option in a receiver's room. With Chase on the roster and Higgins getting the franchise tag, playing for another team could be his best and last chance to get back to that role. 

A wide receiver leaving one team for an expanded role elsewhere is something we've seen before. After the 2015 season, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu both left in free agency because they wanted a chance to have a more substantial role in an offense rather than playing Robin to AJ Green's proverbial Batman. 

We should expect Higgins to play under the franchise tag. Furthermore, the Bengals would like to get a long-term deal in place for Chase soon. These factors will limit what the Bengals are willing to offer Boyd to stay. 

If Higgins gets traded, it would likely happen well into free agency. At that point, we should expect Boyd to be off the market. 

All of this adds up to Boyd signing elsewhere this offseason