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Report: Steelers Have Discussed Trading for Bengals WR Tee Higgins



Pittsburgh Steelers Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins

Wide receiver Tee Higgins and the Cincinnati Bengals have not had any talks on a contract extension since March of 2023. At this point, Higgins is ready to move on, especially after the franchise tag was placed on him last month.

It’s unclear if the Bengals will be willing to acquiesce to that request. Cincinnati saved a ton of salary cap space to be able to afford to pay Higgins the franchise tag amount in 2024, as the team hopes to rebound after an injury-plagued 2023.

According to Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan, the Steelers have had internal discussions about trading for Higgins. They love the player. But there’s questions about acquisition cost and his next contract cost. Plus there’s the issue of the Bengals trading him in the AFC North.

“I want Tee Higgins back,” general manager Duke Tobin said to reporters at the Senior Bowl. “Everyone on our team would like to have Tee Higgins back. Again, there’s one pie and how big of a slice that takes and what else we can’t do because of it, we’ll have to determine and we’ll see.”

With the Steelers hosting six wide receiver prospects on pre-draft visits, the buzz around the Steelers trading for a receiver has died off a bit but according to one NFL insider, the team is still trying their hand at landing one via trade.

“For me, there’s a piece of information we don’t have yet, which is do they trade for a wide receiver before the draft,” NFL Insider Jason La Canfora said on the In The Huddle podcast. “It would not surprise me if they did that tomorrow, if they did it the Wednesday before the draft. If they did it while they were on the clock, if they did it in the run up to the draft that Thursday, I know that they’re really trying to make something happen there.”

Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport predicted that Higgins will play in Cincinnati under the franchise tag in 2024 before leaving in free agency and signing a four-year, $99.7 million contract with the Steelers in 2025 that includes $59 million in guarantees.

Higgins can attempt to force a trade, or he can sit out the season by refusing to sign his franchise tender, so he does have some leverage.

The 6-foot-4, 219-pound wideout from Clemson has developed into a perfect complement for Ja’Marr Chase in the four years since the Bengals drafted him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Higgins has averaged 14.3 yards per reception in his NFL career and has caught at least five touchdowns in each of his four seasons, showcasing his big-play ability. He posted consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and 2022 before an injury limited him to 11 games in 2023, and the injury to quarterback Joe Burrow hindered the Cincinnati passing attack.

The franchise tag amount for wide receivers in 2024 will be $21.816 million. That contract will be fully guaranteed.