Joe Burrow: I expect Tee Higgins to be back

Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins entered the league together with the Bengals as the No. 1 and No. 33 overall picks of the 2020 draft.

The two players have had a strong connection ever since, with Higgins eclipsing 1,000 yards in 2021 and 2022 as Cincinnati made deep playoff runs with a healthy Burrow.

But now that the Bengals 2023 season is over after missing the postseason at 9-8, Higgins has perhaps played his last game for Cincinnati. With his rookie contract over, the receiver is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

The Bengals could certainly re-sign Higgins, but that has not seemed like a guarantee for a while given that Ja’Marr Chase is also eligible for a contract extension this offseason after completing his third season. And Chase is going to command top-tier receiver money.

Still, Joe Burrow made it clear how he feels about Higgins when speaking to the media on Monday.

“Well obviously, we’d love to have Tee back,” Burrow said in his press conference. “He’s a big part of what we’ve done here. And it’s no secret, our relationship.

“So, I expect Tee to be back. I think that's the sentiment in the locker room — we all want Tee back. We know what kind of player he is, we know what kind of person he is. He’s what being a Bengal is all about. So, like you said, we’ll see. But I think we should have a good opportunity.”

Higgins dealt with a few injuries this year and appeared in 12 games with 11 starts. He caught 42 passes for 656 yards with five touchdowns.

In his four seasons, Higgins has 257 receptions for 3,684 yards with 24 TDs. He’s also caught 31 passes for 457 yards with three touchdowns in seven postseason games.