Sources – Franchise-tagged Bengals WR Tee Higgins requests trade

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins could be on the move.

Higgins has requested a trade out of Cincinnati, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Higgins said he loves Cincinnati and hoped to be with the team long term but that he is disappointed the team has not had any talks about a long-term contract extension since March 2023, per sources.

The news comes just hours before the NFL’s legal tampering window opens ahead of free agency at noon ET.

The fourth-year player out of Clemson just wrapped up the final year of his rookie contract. Cincinnati gave Higgins the one-year franchise tag worth $21.8 million for the upcoming season should the two sides be unable to work out a long-term agreement ahead of July 15.

But that does not appear likely. Even before the start of the 2023 season, there had been little to no movement on a potential contract extension, a source told ESPN.

On Monday, a source told Schefter that those talks had stalled out in March 2023. In four seasons with the Bengals, Higgins amassed 257 catches, 3,684 yards and 24 touchdowns. Last year, injuries contributed to his least-productive season since the Bengals drafted him in 2020. The second-round pick appeared in 12 games and caught 42 passes for 656 yards and five touchdowns.

At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said the team wanted to keep Higgins for at least another season. However, unlike the previous year in which Tobin emphatically shot down the notion of trading him, he left the door open for a potential move this offseason.

“The reason we franchised him is because we would like to have him,” Tobin said. “He’s not under contract and it’s hard for me to predict all the different scenarios that could happen, but we feel strongly about Tee Higgins and his fit with us.”

This is the second straight year a prominent Bengals player has requested a trade. Last March, offensive tackle Jonah Williams sought a move after the team landed Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency, which moved Williams from left tackle to right tackle. The team never entertained the request, however. He played all 17 games at right tackle in an expiring contract season.

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