The Bengals have the option to keep wide receiver Tee Higgins from becoming a free agent in March. They could sign him to a long-term deal or use a franchise tag to extend negotiations into mid-July. If no deal is reached, Higgins has the choice to sit out or play with a guaranteed salary of $20.7 million in 2024.
According to TheAthletic.com, the Bengals are expected to use the franchise tag on Higgins. This move would allow them to keep him on their roster while negotiations continue and provide them with more time to agree on a contract. The team has the cap space to carry that salary in 2024, and Joe Burrow’s cap number remains relatively low before increasing significantly in 2025. Additionally, waiting for a reset market might benefit Higgins by giving him more leverage in negotiations for a multi-year deal.
The decision about whether or not to use the franchise tag will become clearer as March 5 approaches, when tags need to be issued. It looks like the Bengals plan to take advantage of this opportunity and keep Higgins on their roster, either through a long-term deal or by using the franchise tag.