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Bengals explain the quick timing of Tee Higgins’ franchise tag

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By: Chris Roling

The Cincinnati Bengals raised some eyebrows by applying the franchise tag to wide receiver Tee Higgins so early in the window to do so.

Those Bengals didn’t have a major reason to rush the tag’s application, and doing so before they attended the scouting combine with the other teams this week drummed up some trade speculation.

But at that combine, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin and head coach Zac Taylor pushed back a little, saying the tag came early simply because of the massive spike to the salary cap.

“We want him on the roster,” Tobin said. “As soon as we got the salary-cap numbers, there was no point lingering on this.”

Taylor added more: “He’s one of the top receivers in this league, and we don’t want that just walking out of the building. So when you’ve got an opportunity to put a tag on him and keep him in the building and let him play at least another season for us, I think that’s critical.”

It’s worth pointing out that Tobin’s comments elsewhere were a pretty big departure from how he talked about trading Higgins just one year ago.

Even so, there’s still little reason to think Higgins isn’t with the Bengals in 2024. Those involved in the decision downplaying the timing now adds to that pile, too.

Originally posted on Bengals Wire