Source: Bengals’ Higgins signs franchise tender

NFL

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is officially in the fold for the upcoming season.

Higgins will sign his franchise tag on Saturday, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter. By signing the tag, the fifth-year receiver is now expected to be at training camp.

The latest development comes two days after the Bengals concluded the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp. Higgins missed the team’s entire offseason program while the tag remained unsigned.

Earlier in the week, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said he remained in contact with Higgins since the end of last season and welcomed the idea of throwing with him before training camp begins in late July.

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

Higgins is set to earn $21.8 million in salary this season under the tag. He and the Bengals can still negotiate a long-term deal until July 15. However, the likelihood of that seems unlikely.

A 2020 second-round pick out of Clemson, Higgins has been an instrumental part of Cincinnati’s offense. In his first four seasons, Higgins has totaled 3,684 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns.

Last year, Higgins was hampered by rib and hamstring injuries. He played in 12 games and had 42 receptions, 656 yards and five touchdowns.

Higgins isn’t the only Bengals receiver looking for a massive extension. Ja’Marr Chase, a three-time Pro Bowler, is also angling for a new deal. Chase also missed nearly the entire offseason program. While he did report for the mandatory minicamp, he was a limited participant in all three days.

The Bengals are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2023 season. Burrow suffered a season-ending wrist injury on Week 11 and Cincinnati, the back-to-back AFC North champs, missed the playoffs for the first time since 2020.

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