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Taylor not worried as Bengals begin OTAs without Chase, Higgins

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The Cincinnati Bengals kicked off their organized team activities on Tuesday without Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, but head coach Zac Taylor isn't too concerned about the star wide receivers' absences.

"(They) are still working hard elsewhere, and they'll be back at the right times," Taylor said, according to Mike Petraglia of the "Jungle Roar" podcast. "And the beauty is we know those guys, we know what they're about and that they'll be ready and focused when it's time to come back."

Higgins wasn't expected at the team's voluntary workouts as he has yet to sign the franchise tag with Cincinnati. The two-time 1,000-yard receiver is looking for a new contract and requested a trade earlier this offseason. The two sides have until July 15 to ink a multi-year deal but reportedly haven't discussed an extension in over a year.

Chase has two years remaining on his rookie contract but is eligible for an extension. The three-time Pro Bowler - who's expected to become one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers when he signs a new contract - has averaged 89 receptions, 1,239 yards, and 10 touchdowns per season since entering the league as the No. 5 pick in 2021.

"They will get the work in at the necessary time," Taylor added about Chase and Higgins. Projected starting right tackle Trent Brown and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins were also absent on Tuesday.

With Chase and Higgins, the Bengals boast one of the NFL's best duos. Wide receiver depth was an issue for Cincinnati entering this offseason, so the team used a third-round pick on Alabama wideout Jermaine Burton. Cincy also rosters receivers Trenton Irwin, Andrei Iosivas, and Charlie Jones.

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