Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is about to enter the final year of his rookie contract and is expected to net a sizable purse for his consistent production. However, rival teams apparently believe his immediate future remains in Cincy, according to the reporting of The Athletic's Jeff Howe.

Bengals general manager Duke Tobin and head coach Zac Taylor had first denounced the notion of trading away the 23-year-old star out of Clemson at the Scouting Combine, and now it seems the league has echoed that sentiment. Things could change over the next year, though, especially with franchise quarterback Joe Burrow and top wideout Ja'Marr Chase also needing to be re-signed.

Higgins presumably falls a distant third on that priority list, so Tobin should expect plenty of phone calls for the 6-foot-4 red zone threat. He tallied 74 receptions in each of the last two seasons while clearing 1,000 receiving yards. Additionally, Higgins has scored 19 touchdowns in three years. Achieving those numbers alongside Chase could mean an $80 million contract on the open market. The organization will have to lock down a plan fairly soon.

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It is not inconceivable to think the Bengals would go all in on offense. After all, they drafted Chase with the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft instead of taking top offensive tackle Penei Sewell. They gave Burrow his elite LSU connection instead of protection. Things have worked out pretty well, though. Burrow has been sacked more than 90 times the last two seasons combined, but still nearly led Cincinnati to back-to-back Super Bowls.

The Bengals brass might feel it is best to accommodate Burrow again and keep that young and dangerous trio intact. Based on the current reports, the Bengals are focused on the Lombardi Trophy.

But the Higgins issue could be a big elephant to keep in the room while they pursue that goal.