INDIANAPOLIS — The Cincinnati Bengals might not be able to keep all of their weapons together in the passing game beyond this season, but one thing is clear: Tee Higgins is not on the trading block.
Reports surfaced recently indicating the Bengals could be considering a trade of Higgins to help bring in assets that could improve the roster in the future because of how unlikely it seems for the team to be able to keep both him and Ja’Marr Chase when both likely will command hefty second contracts.
Higgins is entering the final season of his four-year rookie contract and is eligible for an extension now. Chase will be due for one next year. However, Cincinnati director of player personnel Duke Tobin and coach Zac Taylor both called the idea of moving on from Higgins early “ridiculous.”
“I’m not in the business of making other teams better,” Tobin said. “I’m in the business of making the Cincinnati Bengals better, and so trading Tee Higgins is not on my mind. That’s their problem. They want a receiver go find your own. In my opinion, Tee Higgins is a good piece for the Cincinnati Bengals, so the trade stuff is a little ridiculous right now.”
Higgins, the team’s second-round pick in 2020, topped 1,000 yards receiving each of the last two seasons and was just shy of that milestone his rookie year when Burrow only played 10 games.
Taylor said he just laughs off the trade rumors. He likes having Higgins as an option when calling plays and couldn’t imagine the team wanting to move on from such a talented wide receiver.
“Whenever you see the rumors flying around out there, it’s nonsense because at the end of the day, I do get to call the plays and it’s fun having weapons out there and you don’t really want to give those up,” Taylor said.
Tobin said he doesn’t have to put too much concern with how the Bengals can afford to keep quarterback Joe Burrow, Higgins and Chase because they are all under contract now.
“You might have thought that far ahead and start breaking down our team, but I don’t think that way,” Tobin said. “I really don’t. Tee is a big part of what we do, he jells great with our quarterback, he’s a great piece of what we’ve developed on offense and we aren’t looking to start over right now.”
The Bengals could still discuss an extension with Higgins, but they also know it might not be possible to fit all the pieces together for the long-term. If an agreement can’t be reached, Higgins is still under contract for 2023 and there’s no reason to move on from a player that can help the Bengals this season.
“We look at a lot of different things,” Tobin said. “We also look at the fact at what he does for as a football team and he’s under contract next year and we’ll talk to him perhaps as the offseason goes on to see if there’s something we can come to an agreement on or not, he’s eligible for that. It’s not a necessity. It’s something that can be done, and we’ll see. It sounds like you have thought a lot more about this than I have, I don’t overthink it. He’s a good player for the Cincinnati Bengals and I intend to keep him that way.”
Added Tobin: “He’s a good player for us. In my mind, why would I want to give up a good player for us. He’s a valuable component of what we do. We drafted him for a reason, we’ve developed him for a reason, he plays for a reason. He’s under contract to us. He gives us the best chance for us to be a successful football team. Like I said earlier, I’m not in the business of trying to figure out how to make other teams better. I’m in the business of trying to keep our team at the top.”
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