Skip to main content
Presented by

Bengals Place Franchise Tag on Tee Higgins

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) runs after a catch during an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) runs after a catch during an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Bengals: Tee Higgins Has Officially Received Franchise Tag

The Bengals have placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins, the team officially announced Monday.

"Tee has done an outstanding job for us since we drafted him in 2020," Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor said in a statement. "I'm glad that he'll continue to be a big part of our offense and our team."

The Bengals and Higgins still have until mid-July to reach a long-term agreement, otherwise he will play under the one-year wide receiver franchise tag salary of $21.816.

Higgins dealt with rib, ankle and hamstring injuries that limited him to 11 games in 2023 and he finished with a career-low 42 catches for 656 yards and five touchdowns. However, in both 2021 and 2022, Higgins topped over 1,000 yards receiving, combining with Ja'Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd to give Cincinnati one of the NFL's top receiver groups.

Higgins is just part of the wide receiver puzzle the Bengals are juggling this offseason. Boyd is scheduled to hit free agency, while Chase is looking to become one of the highest paid players at his position after three straight Pro Bowl seasons.

However, the Bengals have insured that Higgins will remain one of quarterback Joe Burrow's top targets. Higgins and Burrow were part of Cincinnati's 2020 draft class and their bond has grown during their four years together.

"It's no secret our relationship," Burrow said in January via Ben Baby of "We know what kind of player he is. We know what kind of person he is. He's what being a Bengal is all about."

Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson Is Reportedly Almost Ready to Begin Throwing

The reports on Deshaun Watson's recovery from season-ending shoulder surgery continue to be positive. Watson will be ready to start throwing in March, according to Mary Kay Cabot of He underwent surgery Nov. 21 to repair his fractured right shoulder socket after suffering his injury in a victory against the Ravens.

Cleveland receiver Elijah Moore said he has already spoken with Watson about getting together with the Browns' receivers for throwing sessions during the offseason. The Browns were 5-1 in games that Watson started last season and believe they can build on their success after making the playoffs in 2023.

"I can't wait," Moore said. "As soon as he gets the green light to, whatever his process is, I think everyone will be where he's at, or we'll definitely all connect."

Watson led the NFL in passing yards with the Texans in 2020, and new Browns Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey said he believes Watson can return to that level of play.

"Watching Deshaun, he clearly has a great feel for a lot of different aspects of football, whether it's scheme-wise for us, instincts of what he sees on the field in terms of the defense and adjusting things," Dorsey said. "I think that's the exciting part about working with him is getting him back to the elite level of who he is."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Starting Center Mason Cole Released in Salary Cap Move

The Steelers have released center Mason Cole, who has started every regular season game the past two seasons.

Cole was reportedly scheduled to earn a $3.25 million base salary plus a $1.5 million roster bonus, so the move will save Pittsburgh nearly $5 million in cap room. The NFL announced Friday that its salary cap for the 2024 season will be a record $255.4 million per team, a 13.6% increase over last year's cap. It's the largest jump the cap has taken since it was introduced in 1994, giving the Steelers and every team a little more flexibility to make offseason moves.

Cole had some issues with low snaps during the season and releasing him increases the likelihood the Steelers will draft or sign a starting center. Nate Herbig was Pittsburgh's backup center last season, but he has primarily played guard during his career.

Related Content