Tee Higgins not at Bengals minicamp as franchise tag drama continues

Tee Higgins isn’t bringing his contract drama to minicamp.

The Bengals star, in a franchise tag standoff with the team, isn’t present at mandatory minicamp this week.

Higgins, who is angling for a long-term extension, has not signed his one-year tender worth around $21.8 million and cannot be fined by his absence

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) reacts after making a catch against the Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter at Paycor Stadium. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

His teammate and fellow standout receiver Ja’Marr Chase, now eligible for a big-money deal of his own, is at camp, as is quarterback Joe Burrow, who missed the final seven games of the 2023 season with a wrist injury.

“Me and Tee are always talking. I’ve seen Tee several times this offseason, he looks great,” Burrow told reporters on Tuesday. “Whenever he’s ready to come back, I’ll be excited to see him.”

It may be a while as Higgins continues to show the Bengals he’s willing to do what he has to.

The 25-year-old requested a trade in March and then he, along with Chase, skipped OTAs in late May.

Coach Zac Taylor didn’t seem worried when his top wideouts missed the voluntary workouts.

Members of the Cincinnati Bengals walk to the fields during an OTA offseason workout at the Kettering Health Bengals Practice Fields on June 04, 2024 Getty Images

“[They] are still working hard elsewhere, and they’ll be back at the right times,” Taylor said on May 28. “And the beauty is we know those guys, we know what they’re about and that they’ll be ready and focused when it’s time to come back.”

Higgins shared a cryptic Instagram post on May 30, featuring an array of photos, including shots of the wide receiver working out, with the caption “I tell em no, they can’t wait to call me selfish…”

Heading into the 2024 offseason, Higgins established that he wanted either a new contract or a trade after playing out the final season of his rookie deal in 2023.

The Bengals denied both requests and tagged Higgins as a franchise player just before the NFL combine in late February.

“It’s really simple: He’s a good player, we want to keep him, and we have resources to do that, so we decided early to do it,” Duke Tobin, the team’s director of player personnel, explained at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “And that’s where we are. We like Tee. We’re a better team with Tee. With the way we managed our cap, we had the ability to put the franchise tag on him, and we did.”  

While it’s clear that Higgins isn’t happy with the way the situation has unfolded, he did tell reporters back in April that he anticipated playing for the Bengals in 2024.

“I do anticipate it,” said Higgins while at a youth football camp, (via WLWT). “I’ve grown a love for Cincinnati that I didn’t think I would. [I’m] looking forward to it.”

The 25-year-old has tallied 403 catches for 3,684 yards and 24 touchdowns over four seasons with Cincinnati.

He missed five games due to injury last season but managed to finish with 42 catches for 656 yards and five touchdowns.

Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals and Ja’Marr Chase #1 celebrate
a touchdown during the second half in the game against the Baltimore Ravens
at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 202. Getty Images

The two sides have until July 15 to negotiate a new contract extension, with a potential trade looming.

The Bengals did get themselves some insurance, snagging receiver Jermaine Burton in the third round of April’s draft.

The Bengals start the 2024-25 season at home against the Patriots on Sept. 8.

Leave a Comment