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The Bengals applied their franchise tag to Higgins (hamstring) on Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

According to Rapoport, Higgins' franchise tag number is expected to fall around $21.8 million for the 2024 season, but the tag may merely serve as a placeholder as the Bengals work toward a long-term extension with the receiver prior to the July 15 deadline. If the two sides are far apart on an extension, the Bengals also could look to trade Higgins, who would be a highly-sought after receiver given the weak crop of free agents at the position. Higgins was limited to just 11 games in 2023 due to rib and hamstring injuries, but he once again was productive in his fourth NFL season with 42 catches for 656 yards and five touchdowns. He should be back to full health before OTAs get underway in the spring, if he isn't already.

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