Bengals to use franchise tag on WR Tee Higgins

The Arizona Cardinals are expected to target wide receivers in the offseason, whether in free agency or the NFL draft. One of the biggest names in free agency will not be available.

The Cincinnati Bengals will use the franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins, reported NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Friday.

Higgins probably was going to be too expensive a target for the Cardinals but he would have been a good fit because of his size and production.

He played only 12 games last season but caught 42 passes for 656 yards and five touchdowns, averaging a career-high 15.6 yards per reception.

He surpassed 1,000 yards in both 2021 and 2022.

The franchise tag will pay Higgins $21.8 million, fully guaranteed. The Bengals will have until July to negotiate a long-term deal.

So if the Cardinals were hoping to target Higgins, they will need to pivot.

If the Bengals use the non-exclusive tag, teams can negotiate with Higgins and sign him to an offer sheet, but the Bengals would be able to match the offer and, if they don’t, they would receive two first-round draft picks from the team signing him.

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Story originally appeared on Cards Wire