Why Bengals WR Tee Higgins Should Be Celebrating Jaylen Waddle’s New Deal

There are three reasons why Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins should be celebrating Jaylen Waddle's big deal with the Miami Dolphins.

CINCINNATI – If you think Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins is seething today after watching yet another wide receiver score a huge payday, think again.

There are at least three reasons why Higgins should be excited about seeing Jaylen Waddle agree to a three-year, $87.5 million extension with the Miami Dolphins.

Bengals WR Tee Higgins Should Be Thrilled by Jaylen Waddle Deal

Let’s start with the obvious — a rising tide fattens all wallets.

Higgins isn’t happy about receiving the franchise tag, which is obvious by his trade request and refusal (so far) to sign it. But every time another receiver jumps into the top 10 earners at the position, it raises the floor for Higgins — and teammate Ja’Marr Chase — when their negotiations hit warp speed, which is expected to be next offseason.

Of the 11 highest-paid receivers, a list that has Waddle at No. 7 with his new deal, only the Detroit Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown (who will turn 25 in October) is younger than Higgins (turned 25 in January).

No. 2 on the list of reasons for Higgins to be encouraged today is, well, No. 2.

Waddle becomes one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL despite being WR2 in Miami behind Tyreek Hill, just as Higgins has played the secondary role to Chase for each of the last three seasons.

Waddle and Higgins’ production has been nearly identical. In two seasons playing alongside Hill, Waddle has averaged 4.7 catches, 76.5 yards per game, and six touchdowns per year.

In three seasons playing next to Chase, Higgins has averaged 4.5 receptions, 66.1 yards per game, and six touchdowns per year.

If Higgins signs with a team where he will be the WR2 again, he can set Waddle’s $28.3 million per year as the floor. If he signs somewhere to be the WR1, his bargaining power increases.

The third reason for Higgins (and Bengals fans alike) to be happy about the Waddle deal is it effectively shoots down any argument Cincinnati’s front office can make about it not being feasible to pay two wide receivers that kind of money.

Hill, whose contract doesn’t expire until after 2026, and Waddle, whose new deal runs through 2028, will average a combined $58.3 million over the next two seasons.

Yes, the Dolphins don’t have a quarterback making Joe Burrow-type of money…yet. But a massive extension for Tua Tagovailoa is coming.

Higgins has said in the past he would like to remain in Cincinnati, although that was before the team placed the franchise tag on him.

If he still feels that way despite the trade request, his delay in signing the tag, and his missing all of the voluntary offseason program, he and his agent, David Mulugheta, can point to the Hill-Waddle deals as proof that top-paid receivers can coexist on the same ledger sheet.

KEEP READING: Tee Higgins Signing Franchise Tag a Matter of When, Not If

The parallels are not exact, obviously.

Wherever the Tagovailoa contract lands, it won’t be close to Burrow’s deal. And Chase, who is patiently waiting in line behind Justin Jefferson, is probably going to be in the range of $40 million per year, not the $30 million per Hill is making, which is bloated on the back end with $45 million in cash and a cap hit of $56.3 million coming in 2026.

However you want to look at the Waddle deal, it’s good news for Higgins from any angle.

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