The Cincinnati Bengals have a tough call to make with wide receiver Tee Higgins this offseason.
Higgins, slated to be a free agent, is an obvious franchise tag candidate after player and team couldn’t agree to a long-term extension last offseason.
And while it’s easy to dismiss the whole situation as an obvious tag-and-forget situation, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin isn’t exactly ready to confirm that it will happen.
Here’s what Tobin told Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer on that topic during an interview at the Senior Bowl:
He’s not under contract now so we’re going to have to work through how to do that and if it’s possible and we’ll have to go through the gymnastics of that. So it’s a different scenario than it was last year. Trading a high-level player that’s under contract just because the future might demand it, that’s never really on my mind. We’ll see what happens this year. I want Tee Higgins back. Everyone on our team would like to have Tee Higgins back. Again, there’s one pie and how big of a slice that takes and what else we can’t do because of it, we’ll have to determine, and we’ll see.
The vague reply isn’t a shocker from Tobin, who outside of his “get your own” comments about Higgins last year in response to illogical trade rumors, usually keeps a lid on things.
Cincinnati can place a tag on Higgins from February 5 to March 20, which will cost the team roughly $21.7 million of its ample cap space. Otherwise, he’ll head to free agency.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has commented that he discussed the long-term plan with the team before signing his own major extension, which presumably includes plans for Higgins. Beyond the price tag though, Tobin and Co. will have to look at factors such as Higgins’ injury history and the fact they drafted multiple receivers last year, among others.
If the Bengals do tag Higgins, it’s extremely doubtful they do a tag-and-trade scenario.