Skip to main content

Powered by On3

Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins take different approaches to Bengals minicamp amid contract negotiations

Nikki Chavanelleby:Nikki Chavanelle06/11/24


Bengals WRs Tee Higgins JaMarr Chase
Cincinnati Enquirer/USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals begin mandatory minicamp on Tuesday with wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase present, but without Tee Higgins. Both wide receivers are on the hunt for contract extensions, and they’re taking different approaches to team participation as they continue negotiations. Together, Chase and Higgins are two top targets for Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, so getting them both back on the field is a high priority for the organization.

By showing up for the minicamp, Chase is avoiding fines from the team. Higgins will not be fined as he has yet to sign his franchise tag deal.

The Bengals selected Chase, a former star at LSU, with the fifth pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. He still has the 2024 and 2025 seasons under contract with the team, but, as it stands, he’s set to play the 2025 season on his fifth-year option for $21.8 million.

Instead of security for just one more season, Chase would prefer to lock in a long-term deal like several of his cohorts have done this year. The price tag has only increased with the Vikings signing No. 1 wide receiver Justin Jefferson to a four-year deal for a whopping $140 million.

Last season, Chase had a team-high 1,216 receiving yards on 100 catches with seven touchdowns. Higgins, who played just 12 games, had 656 yards on 42 catches with five touchdowns. It was his first season with fewer than 900 receiving yards after posting two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and 2022.

Higgins disgruntled over franchise tag deal

Cincinnati selected Higgins, the former Clemson star, with the 33rd pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, just outside the first round. The contract he signed in 2020 ended in March. The Bengals then used the franchise tag on Higgins to kick off the offseason. That one-year, fully-guaranteed offer is for $21.8 million. It’s a hefty sum, but less than he would receive with a long-term deal.

Before OTAs nearly all of the franchise-tagged players signed extensions this offseason, except for Higgins and one other player. Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. ended up joining the ranks of the signed a month ago, however, inking for four years, $84.1 million, leaving only the Bengals wideout unsigned.

At the NFL owner’s meeting in Orlando this spring, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was asked about Higgins’ trade request. He told reporters he’s excited for another year with the former Clemson star and hopes he helps take the team to the Super Bowl.

“We’re excited for Tee to have a great year for us,” Taylor said. “We think he’s our best chance to help us win a Super Bowl. I’ve enjoyed working with Tee the last four years, I expect this year to be no different.”