Cincinnati Bengals’ fans better enjoy Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins while they have all three together again in 2023. Because going by recent comments from owner Mike Brown, this will likely be the last year with the big three.
Burrow has two years left on his rookie deal, and Chase will have three remaining (presumably) when the Bengals pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract next year. But Higgins, a 2020 second-round pick, is entering the final season of his rookie deal.
Per ESPN’s Ben Baby, Brown told reporters at the Bengals’ media luncheon that they won’t be able to pay all of their star players. As well, he decided not to speak on contract negotiations with the star quarterback:
“We have some good players that need to be fed. That’s a challenge. It’s mathematical. You get a bag of corn and you have 10 hogs. Well, you’re going to put that out to them. The bag’s going to be empty. And some of them aren’t going to get it…
I have bound myself not to talk about Joe’s contract. I don’t think it’s helpful for the negotiations. The other side has made the same commitment and they have not broken it.”
Over his tenure as Bengals’ owner, Brown has garnered a reputation for being very budget-conscious. But it’s hard to envision the Bengals letting both Burrow and Chase depart, given how much they’ve changed the franchise together.
As good as Higgins is, the Bengals would unquestionably choose Burrow and Chase over him. He’s one of the game’s best No. 2 receivers, but Cincinnati must keep cap space open for other players and positions.
Tyler Boyd, another consistent 1,000-yard threat, is also a free agent at the end of the 2023 season.
Tyler Boyd, another consistent 1,000-yard threat, is also a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. Boyd would surely cost less to retain than Higgins, but it also remains to be seen if the Bengals will meet the former’s asking price.
The Bengals will open their 2023 season with a road tilt against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 10.
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