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    What’s Next for Bengals WR Tee Higgins After Signing Franchise Tag?

    Three months after requesting a trade and five weeks before training camp begins, Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is signing his franchise tag.

    CINCINNATI — Any questions about whether Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins would be a divisive, or distracting, presence in the locker room have been answered.

    Upset with receiving the franchise tag and the lack of negotiating toward a long-term deal, Higgins has gone from requesting a trade in March on the eve of free agency to putting forth a good-faith gesture by signing the tag 38 days before players are scheduled to report to training camp.

    Tee Higgins Expected To Report for Cincinnati Bengals Camp

    Higgins is expected to be among the group reporting on July 23, according to multiple reports.

    He was the first player to be tagged this offseason and the last one to sign.

    The Bengals essentially confirmed the signing with a post on X (formerly Twitter) featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, a favorite of quarterback Joe Burrow, snaring a jellyfish with a net, which is a nod to Higgins’ playful posts about the difficulty of setting up his jellyfish tank last year.

    Though signing the tag seemed inevitable from the start, Higgins signing this early is a departure from what appeared to be a template set in 2022 by former teammate Jessie Bates III, who like Higgins is represented by agent David Mulugheta.

    Bates waited until the second day after the preseason game to sign his tag and didn’t practice until Aug. 24, 18 days before the season opener.

    By signing the tag, Higgins receives $21.8 million guaranteed.

    The deadline for the Bengals and Higgins to reach an agreement on a long-term deal is one month from today, July 15.

    Given the leverage the Bengals have with the franchise tag, it always was expected that Higgins would sign it and play for the Bengals in 2024. He said as much while speaking at a youth camp on April 14, a little more than a month after he requested a trade.

    What was unclear was when Higgins would sign the tag and report and how his frustration with the franchise would manifest itself.

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    Burrow has missed significant time early in training camp the last two seasons, due to a calf injury (2023) and appendectomy (2022), and the Bengals started 0-2 each season.

    Burrow was cleared to practice ahead of the start of OTAs and participated through the end of minicamp this week. Though he had a few scheduled days off, Burrow is expected to be close to 100% by the start of training camp, and having both Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase available will be key as the team installs new elements to the offense brought by first-year coordinator Dan Pitcher.

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