Franchise tag settles Tee Higgins' volatile fantasy value... for now

Tee Higgins will be wearing a Cincinnati Bengals uniform for at least one more season.

Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

Tee Higgins won't be hitting the free-agent market after all. The Bengals have decided to place the franchise tag on their No. 2 wide receiver, a move that was expected by some, but one that will be costly.

Higgins will now be in line to receive a fully guaranteed one-year deal worth about $21.8 million to keep him in Cincinnati for the 2024 season while the two sides look to negotiate a long-term extension. For fantasy football players who have Higgins on a dynasty or keeper roster, this is likely great news as it takes a lot of the guessing game out of the equation in regards to his position on your roster.

Higgins might be the best No. 2 WR in the league and catching passes from a healthy Joe Burrow sounds a lot better than some of the alternatives, such as the Carolina Panthers, a place many analysts had predicted him going to.

For players with a team in win-now mode, having Higgins in Cincinnati is good. In four seasons with the Bengals, Higgins has seasonal averages of 64.2 receptions, 921 yards and six touchdowns. Considering that he has to compete with Ja'Marr Chase for targets, those are solid numbers.

This means that you will want to ride Higgins for the 2024 season if you are in that position. But what if your team is a rebuilding one? Though you no longer have to worry about where Higgins will sign this year, we could be having the exact same conversation next year.

If the Bengals and Higgins don't come to agreement on an extension, he will once again be an unrestricted free agent. It's going to be quite hard to predict which teams will be in need of a wide receiver next offseason, but there are not going to be many better opportunities for him over Cincinnati, even as a No.1 option.

With that in mind, Higgins could be a player you may want to unload right now. If you need extra picks to start getting your team back in line, the news of Higgins getting tagged could be a tool that you use to offer him in a trade to another manager in your league who will now have the knowledge that he will be in Cincinnati this coming season, and maybe longer.

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That would be a gamble for them to take and one you could get off of your roster. If the return is good, and for a player with proven production, it should be, then putting him on the trade block is a move that makes sense.