After sitting out of off-season programs, Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins signed his franchise tender, which guarantees $21 million from the franchise tag as Higgins stays in Cincinnati for another season.

Higgins missed all of the mandatory minicamp with hopes of a new deal. He did not want to receive the franchise tag, but he and the Bengals are clearly far apart with a long-term extension. Higgins requested a trade a couple of months ago, as he hoped that another team would offer him the long-term offer, but no deal ever transpired or appeared close.

The deal expects Higgins to be in black and orange when training camp comes around, although he would be fined if he did not participate.

Cincinnati is beginning to feel the cap crunch after signing QB Joe Burrow to a five-year $275 million deal at the beginning of last season. The team moved off of RB Joe Mixon this offseason as they traded him to an in-conference rival, the Houston Texans. Along with the new deal for their star quarterback, Jamar Chase will look for an extension soon. His deal should mirror similar to what Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson just made with a record-breaking four-year $140 million contract. With those contracts at the top of GM’s Duke Tobin‘s mind, Higgins has felt frustrated with the lack of extension talk in the last couple of years.

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Higgins has been a mainstay in the Bengals’ reinsurance since being drafted to Cincinnati in the second round of the 2020 draft. However, he struggled last season, playing in just 12 games while dealing with a hamstring injury. His health concerns and Burrow’s season-ending injury caused the WR to have the lowest yard total of his career, 656, and the fewest receptions.

With the departure of #3 WR Tyler Boyd and a new contract on his mind, Higgins hopes to prove his worth in the upcoming season.

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