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Higgins would 'love' to stay with Bengals amid stalled negotiations

Jason Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Cincinnati Bengals and Tee Higgins reportedly haven't discussed a contract extension in over a year, but the star wide receiver still hopes he's in the team's future plans.

"As far as coming back, I would love to come back," Higgins recently said on the "I Am Athlete" podcast. "I grew as a man in the past four years here. Grew as a player, got good new friendships. Great relationships with people not in the facility - in the city of Cincinnati. The fans are great. So I would definitely love to be here.

"But if that's not the situation, then that's not the situation."

Higgins received the franchise tag earlier this offseason but has yet to sign the one-year tender. With negotiations between the two sides seemingly far apart, the 25-year-old remains away from the club as he's ineligible to participate in any team activities until he signs the tag or agrees to a new deal.

Wide receivers have cashed in this offseason with A.J. Brown of the Philadelphia Eagles and Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Detroit Lions signing the biggest contracts ever at the position.

Higgins requested a trade in March but has since said he expects to stay in Cincy.

"I don't know what the situation will be right now, but it'd be bittersweet," Higgins said of potentially being traded.

The Bengals kicked off the team's OTAs this week without Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase, but Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor said the star pass-catchers will "be back at the right times."

A second-round pick in 2020, Higgins just played the final campaign of his rookie contract. The former Clemson star is coming off a down season as he missed five games in 2023 and finished the year with 42 catches, 656 yards, and five touchdowns. He previously topped 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and formed one of the league's premier receiver duos along with Chase.

With Joe Burrow, Chase, Higgins, and Co., the Bengals reached the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years during the 2021 season but ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Rams.

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