An unresolved contract situation will prolong Tee Higgins’ absence in Cincinnati.

The Bengals star receiver still has not signed his franchise tender and is not expected to by next week, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday, which would make him ineligible to report for Cincinnati’s organized team activities that run May 28-30 and June 3-6.

Cincinnati’s mandatory minicamp is scheduled for June 11-13. Higgins cannot rejoin the team until he signs.

Higgins and the Bengals have been unable to come to terms on a long-term deal. The two sides haven’t discussed an extension in over a year, a source told ESPN. Of the eight players who were given the franchise tag this offseason, Higgins is the only one who has not signed a multiyear contract.

Earlier this month, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow voiced support for Higgins and defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who are both seeking new deals.

“Those guys have their business they need to take care of,” Burrow said May 7. “I support them in every way. Both those guys have earned everything that has come to them and more. I’ll support them all the way through it.”

Hendrickson and Higgins both requested trades this offseason.

Hendrickson, who received a one-year extension last July, arrived for voluntary offseason workouts last week and said he is planning on playing for the Bengals this season despite a firm response on his trade request.

Higgins, during an appearance at a local youth football camp in April, indicated he was planning to play for the Bengals this year as well.

Higgins and the Bengals have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal. Otherwise, Higgins will be set to earn $21.8 million on a one-year deal if and when he signs the tender before Nov. 12, which is the final day a player under the franchise tag must sign and still be able to play this season.

Higgins has been one of the Bengals’ top wide receivers since being drafted in 2020. The former second-round pick has 3,684 receiving yards and 24 receiving touchdowns in four seasons.

The former Clemson standout has also battled injuries. Last year, rib and hamstring issues limited Higgins to just 12 games.


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