Tee Higgins Seeks New Team: Wide Receiver Requests Trade Amid Stalled Contract Talks with Bengals

Tee Higgins is eyeing a future beyond the confines of Cincinnati for the upcoming football season. The talented Bengals wide receiver has put in a request for a trade, as revealed by CBS Sports’ lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones. This move comes in the wake of the team’s silence on discussions regarding a long-term contract extension for him.

Ahead of free agency’s commencement, the Bengals opted to place the franchise tag on Higgins, guaranteeing him a $21.8 million salary for the year. However, this arrangement only secures his position for a single season. Drafted early in the second round of the same year the Bengals acquired franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, Higgins initially emerged as Burrow’s primary target before eventually becoming the second option behind Ja’Marr Chase. Over his four seasons in the NFL, Higgins has amassed 257 receptions, 3,684 yards, and 24 touchdowns. His most productive seasons were in 2021 and 2022, during which he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards and scored a combined total of 13 touchdowns in each. Despite facing challenges with injuries and performance in 2023, at 25, Higgins is poised for the prime years of his career.

Teams in need of a wide receiver will likely view Higgins as a highly attractive option, given his proven track record in a high-caliber passing offense. While the Bengals are not obligated to trade Higgins following his request, history shows that players in similar situations often find new teams.

With the franchise tag in place, other teams can start discussions with Higgins from Wednesday. The dynamics of his market value could intensify his dissatisfaction with the franchise tag. Another team could secure Higgins by trading two first-round picks to the Bengals, or Cincinnati might negotiate a different form of compensation. A successful trade for Higgins would likely result in a lucrative long-term contract, potentially setting a benchmark for future negotiations for players such as Ja’Marr Chase, CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, and Brandon Aiyuk this offseason.

Several teams could be ideal destinations for Higgins, offering him the opportunity to continue showcasing his skills:

– **Arizona Cardinals**: With significant cap space and the need for more offensive weapons, pairing Higgins with a high draft pick could provide Kyler Murray with a formidable receiving corps.

– **Atlanta Falcons**: Depending on their free agency moves, adding Higgins could significantly enhance a young quarterback’s arsenal under the guidance of head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Zac Robinson.

– **Carolina Panthers**: Desperate to improve the supporting cast around Bryce Young, the Panthers could see Higgins as the key to unlocking their offensive potential.

– **Chicago Bears**: With ample cap space, the Bears could transform their receiving group into a major strength by adding Higgins to their lineup.

– **Houston Texans**: Known for their efficient offense, the Texans could elevate their game by incorporating Higgins, complementing their existing receiver duo.

– **Indianapolis Colts**: The Colts could create a formidable receiving duo by pairing Higgins with Michael Pittman, boosting their offensive firepower.

– **New England Patriots**: In dire need of receiver talent, the Patriots could see Higgins as a significant upgrade, providing a solid foundation for their next quarterback.

– **New York Giants**: Aiming to revamp their offense, the Giants could view Higgins as a pivotal piece in elevating Daniel Jones’ performance.

– **New York Jets**: Despite cap constraints, the Jets’ willingness to adjust their budget could make them a contender for Higgins’ services.

– **Tennessee Titans**: Higgins could form a dynamic duo with DeAndre Hopkins, offering substantial support for Will Levis in his early career.

– **Washington Commanders**: With the most cap space and a likely focus on drafting a quarterback, pairing Higgins with Terry McLaurin could significantly bolster their offense.

As the offseason progresses, Tee Higgins’ situation remains a focal point, with potential to reshape both his future and the offensive strategies of the teams vying for his talents.