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WR Tee Higgins reportedly asks Bengals for trade after extension talks stall

Wide receiver Tee Higgins, one of the Cincinnati Bengals' franchise cornerstones, has asked the team to trade him, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"Higgins loves Cincinnati and hoped to be with the team long term, but is disappointed that the team has not had any talks about a long-term contract extension since March 2023," Schefter wrote Monday on X (formerly known as Twitter).

The Bengals franchise-tagged Higgins last month, which prevented him from hitting free agency. He's expected to earn $21.8 million this season on the tag.

Higgins, 25, has 3,684 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in 58 career games with the Bengals. They drafted him in the second round out of Clemson in 2020, and since then he's formed a great connection with quarterback Joe Burrow and fellow wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 16: Tee Higgins #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Paycor Stadium on December 16, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Dean/Getty Images)
Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins wants a trade just a few weeks after being franchise tagged. (Photo by Jeff Dean/Getty Images) (Jeff Dean via Getty Images)

However, Higgins' 2023 season wasn't his best. He missed five games due to injury, which limited him to 42 receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns — a steep drop from his first three seasons, which were extremely productive. (For example, Higgins had 74 catches for 1,029 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022.)

Several months after the worst season of his career isn't the best time to seek a trade, but Higgins doesn't have a lot of options. No extension talk for an entire calendar year means the Bengals could be ready to move on from him in 2025, but franchise-tagging him means they definitely want him on the team in 2024. Higgins may want a trade, but at this point the Bengals don't seem likely to give him one.