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Bengals WR Tee Higgins to sign franchise tag, report for training camp

The impasse between the Cincinnati Bengals and wide receiver Tee Higgins has reached a temporary resolution.

Higgins, who had been absent throughout Cincinnati's offseason program amid a trade request, is set to sign his franchise tag tender on Saturday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source.

Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the news, and the Bengals confirmed Higgins' signing Monday.

Rapoport adds that Higgins will report for training camp when it begins and is open to an extension with the Bengals, though a long-term solution is considered unlikely. The two sides have until July 15 to work out a new long-term deal.

Higgins is due to make roughly $21.8 million under the one-year deal in 2024. He was given the franchise tag following his fourth season and subsequently requested a trade from the Bengals after long-term contract negotiations seemingly stalled.

A second-round pick by the Bengals in 2020, Higgins has been a certified weapon when healthy. The 6-foot-4, 219-pound wideout is a physical mismatch against most opposing cornerbacks, and that dynamic has been consistently exploited by quarterback Joe Burrow the past four seasons.

Higgins missed five games due to injury in 2023 and produced his worst statistical season with 42 receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns, but led the team in yards per catch (15.6) in an adverse campaign that saw the loss of Burrow in Week 11.

Prior to that lost year in Cincinnati, Higgins eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in consecutive seasons and was an instrumental component for a Bengals passing attack that featured Ja'Marr Chase and powered Cincinnati to deep playoff runs in 2021 and 2022.

Higgins has especially shined in the postseason, producing consecutive 100-plus yard games in Cincinnati's tremendous 2021 playoff run, including the Super Bowl LVI appearance where he caught two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams. In seven total career playoff games, Higgins has accrued 31 receptions for 457 yards and three TDs.

Saturday's news is a sigh of relief for a Bengals team that looks to get back on track in 2024 with a healthy Burrow and a dynamic Chase-Higgins duo in tow. However, with receiver contracts exploding this offseason and Chase also looking to cash in, Higgins will soon be looking to secure his future as he enters what could possibly become his final year with the Bengals.

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