May 21, 2024

It’s now or never for Bengals WR to prove himself in contract year

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is entering the final year of his rookie contract, creating a crucial opportunity for him to maximize his earnings in this contract year. The urgency stems from the fact that time is running out for the four-year veteran to secure a significant payday.

Recently, the Bengals announced that wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is expected to miss some games due to a separated shoulder, as confirmed by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. This absence positions Higgins as the primary receiving option, a chance for him to prove he can step into the WR1 role. While Higgins has consistently played as the No. 2 behind Chase, he now has the opportunity to showcase his capabilities as the top receiver in Chase’s absence.

Ja'Marr Chase suffered separated shoulder in Bengals OT win over Vikings

Higgins, at 24 years old, has accumulated 215 catches for 3,028 yards and 19 touchdowns in the first three years of his NFL career. However, his performance this year has been limited to 36 catches for 497 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games, partly due to injuries and the absence of starting quarterback Joe Burrow. Nonetheless, backup QB Jake Browning has been performing well recently.

As the highest-paid wide receiver in the league, Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill earns $30 million annually. While Higgins is not expected to secure a deal of that magnitude, projections from Spotrac estimate his potential contract at around $16.4 million per season. A strong finish to the 2023 season could elevate his market value to $20 million or more per year.

The Bengals’ ability to afford Higgins remains uncertain, especially after making Burrow the highest-paid quarterback. However, the franchise tag and potential trade options could come into play if financial constraints arise.

With upcoming matchups, starting with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have allowed an average of 25 points per game over the past three weeks, Higgins has a prime opportunity to make a significant impact. A standout performance in these critical games could not only secure a more lucrative contract for him but also contribute to keeping the Bengals in playoff contention, adding considerable value to his contributions during what has been a somewhat disappointing season so far.

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