Bengals, Tee Higgins contract details standoff emerge in new report

The ongoing standoff between the Cincinnati Bengals and wideout Tee Higgins that led to a trade request received a new update after the 2024 NFL draft.

According to Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati’s initial offer to Higgins on an extension “never approached” the $20 million average per year (APY) mark.

That, it seems, prevented the two sides from engaging in further communications, which means the subject of guaranteed money, etc., didn’t happen.

The report goes on to stress that Higgins doesn’t strive to be the highest-paid receiver in football, only that he’d like something in the range of what Michael Pittman got from the Indianapolis Colts — which sets the baseline at $70 million over three years and a $23 million APY.

Where things get interesting is that Higgins’ franchise tag this year pays out $21.8 million anyway. Applying a double-tag next offseason would cost roughly $26.1 million — putting the two-year average at nearly $24 million APY, anyway.

In theory, that means the team shouldn’t have any problem meeting that $23 million APY over perhaps three seasons.

Timing might be the most critical element here. That under $20 million APY offer that stopped all negotiations was followed up this offseason by rumblings that the two sides hadn’t talked for a year. The Bengals don’t generally like to talk extensions mid-season anyway and it sounds like Higgins’ reps were the ones to cut off contact.

So, things change. The Bengals are now fine with the tag number, but the wideout market continues to explode. Perhaps the front office doesn’t want to commit for more than one year to a wideout who has had problems staying healthy, including missing five games last year.

Either way, the focus now shifts to when Higgins might report to the team and sign the tag, while it’s also all eyes on the when surrounding a Ja’Marr Chase extension (they picked up his fifth-year option and he wants to wait on the market to develop).

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire