Bengals Franchise Tag History: What Are the Chances of a Tee Higgins Extension?

Tee Higgins is the 11th player to receive the franchise tag from the Cincinnati Bengals, and only two others turned that into a long-term extension.

CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Bengals got a jump on Tuesday’s deadline by announcing last Monday they were placing the franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins.

The move means Higgins will earn a guaranteed $21.8 million in 2024 if he signs the tag, as expected.

The Bengals still have more than four months to work out a long-term deal with their second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The deadline for that will be July 15.

Bengals History With the Franchise Tag

The team also has the option to trade Higgins. Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin said at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last week that the team would listen to all offers, but both he and head coach Zac Taylor said their preference is for Higgins to play for the Bengals in 2024.

“He’s one of the top receivers in this league, and we don’t want that just walking out of the building,” Taylor said. “So when you’ve got an opportunity to put a tag on him and keep him in the building and let him play at least another season for us, I think that’s critical.”

“It’s hard for me to predict all the different scenarios that could happen, but we feel strongly about Tee Higgins and his fit with us,” Tobin added. “When you have a bird in the hand, you like to continue with them if you think that they’re going to continue to produce for you.”

Higgins is the 11th player in Bengals history to receive the franchise tag and the fifth since the 2011 CBA.

Here is a rundown of the previous 10 and what happened after the tag was applied.

Jessie Bates III, Safety

The Bengals tagged Bates in 2022, leading to the safety sitting out the entire offseason and first three weeks of training camp. Bates eventually signed the tag on Aug. 23, and he played the 2022 season for $12.9 million.

Bates signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons in March 2023.

A.J. Green, Wide Receiver

Green played the 2020 season on the tag for $18.2 million and had career lows in receiving yards (523) and touchdowns (two).

He signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2021.

Michael Johnson, Defensive End

Johnson earned $11.2 million on the franchise tag in 2013 and then signed a five-year, $43.8 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014.

Tampa Bay cut Johnson after one season, and he returned to the Bengals on a four-year, $20 million contract in 2014. Cincinnati released him in 2017 after three seasons.

Mike Nugent, Kicker

The local product from Centerville High School and Ohio State is the most recently tagged player to stick with the Bengals the season after receiving the tag.

Nugent played the 2012 season on the tag for $2.7 million and then signed a two-year, $3 million extension in 2013, followed by a two-year, $3.5 million extension in 2015. The Bengals cut him before the end of that deal in December of 2016.

Shayne Graham, Kicker

He played on the franchise tag for $2.5 million in 2009 and then signed with the New England Patriots in 2010 for one year at $775,000.

Stacy Andrews, Guard

Cincinnati’s fourth-round pick in 2004 earned $7.5 million on the franchise tag in 2008. He signed a six-year, $38.9 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles the following year, but he wouldn’t see most of it.

The Eagles traded Andrews to the Seattle Seahawks in 2010. They cut him in 2011, and he signed a one-year, $810,000 deal with the New York Giants in 2011.

Justin Smith, Defensive End

Until last year, Smith had the designation of the last defensive lineman the Bengals drafted in the first round. The No. 4 pick in the 2001 NFL Draft earned $8.6 million on the tag in 2007.

The following year he signed for six years and $45 million with the San Francisco 49ers, and he ended his career with them after the 2014 season.

Rudi Johnson, Running Back

The most recent Cincinnati player to sign the tag and an extension in the same season, the Bengals tagged Johnson for $6.3 million in 2005 before agreeing to a five-year, $30 million extension on March 16 that season.

Carl Pickens, Wide Receiver

The Bengals tagged Pickens for $3.5 million in 1999 and then agreed to a five-year, $23.2 million extension.

KEEP READING: Bengals 2024 Free Agents: OT Jonah Williams, CB Chidobe Awuzie, DT DJ Reader Eyeing Open Market

The following April, the Bengals cut Pickens, prompting the NFL Players Association to file a grievance seeking to take away the team’s right to use the franchise tag. The NFLPA eventually dropped the grievance.

Dan Wilkinson, Defensive Tackle

The No. 1 pick in the 1994 NFL Draft signed the franchise tag for $3 million in 1998, but then the Bengals traded him to Washington for a first- and third-round pick. The Bengals drafted linebacker Brian Simmons with the first-round pick (No. 17) and offensive lineman Mike Goff with the third-round pick (No. 78).

Wilkinson played nine more seasons for Washington, Detroit, and Miami.

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