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Franchise-tagged WR Tee Higgins requests trade from Bengals

The impasse between Tee Higgins and the Cincinnati Bengals has now taken another turn.

The franchise-tagged wide receiver has now requested a trade from the Bengals, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday.

ESPN first reported the news.

The Bengals wanted to keep the 25-year-old receiver in tow, with hopes of signing him to a contract extension. They explained their stance on Higgins two weeks ago at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

"It's really simple: He's a good player, we want to keep him, and we have resources to do that, so we decided early to do it," Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said at the time. "And that's where we are. We like Tee. We're a better team with Tee. With the way we managed our cap, we had the ability to put the franchise tag on him, and we did."

Rapoport, however, reported that no such long-term contract negotiations have occurred. With talks seemingly stalled, Higgins now says he wants out.

The Bengals officially tagged Higgins on Feb. 26, issuing a one-year tender offer worth roughly $21.8 million for 2024. The two sides have until July 15 to work out a new long-term deal -- if a trade doesn't happen first.

Higgins missed five games with injuries last season and turned in the worst statistical performance of his four-year career, catching 42 passes for 656 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

He played through a fractured rib and hamstring and ankle injuries, which would be a familiar theme for the Bengals, who also lost star quarterback Joe Burrow for the season and slipped to 9-8 and out of the postseason after back-to-back deep runs in the playoffs the two prior seasons.

But Higgins also led Cincinnati last season at 15.6 yards per catch and turned in a season-high 140 receiving yards, with backup Jake Browning starting against the Steelers in Week 16. In 58 career games (53 starts), Higgins has totaled 257 receptions for 3,684 yards (14.3-yard average) and 24 TDs.

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