Bears Insider

Higgins trade talk silenced by Bengals GM at NFL Combine

Bears Insider
Tee Higgins

INDIANAPOLIS -- Duke Tobin has heard the chatter surrounding the future of wide receiver Tee Higgins in Cincinnati. On Tuesday, the Bengals general manager sent a message to all the vultures circling Cincinnati, hoping they can't work out a long-term deal and trade the young receiver this offseason.

"I'm not in the business of making other teams better," Tobin said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I'm in the business of making the Cincinnati Bengals better. So trading Tee Higgins is not on my mind That's their problem, they want a receiver, they can go find their own. In my opinion, Tee is a good piece for the Cincinnati Bengals, so the trade stuff is a little ridiculous."

The Clemson product is entering the final year of his rookie contract. With looming extensions for quarterback Joe Burrow and fellow wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, several teams around the NFL are hoping the Bengals decide a Higgins extension is too rich for their small-market blood and elect to trade him.

Should Higgins hit the trade market, the Bears would obviously be at the front of the line.

Tobin made it clear that Higgins is a Bengal and plans for him to be in Cincinnati for a long, long time.

 "He's exactly what we're hoping for when we draft a guy... a guy that develops, fills a role, helps us win in a big way and fits into our culture," Tobin said. "Tee is an exceptional football player, and I envision him being part of what we do for a long time. That's the hope."

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Earlier Tuesday, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus noted the need for Chicago to add dynamic players on the outside to help quarterback Justin Fields grow in Year 3.

"We’re always trying to add playmakers at all positions," Eberflus said Tuesday. "We want to do that for sure. That’s no different with the receiver position. The one thing that was great about the receiver position is that they really bought into the blocking piece of it, but obviously, we know that, as a receiver, you have to be a playmaker. We saw it in the playoffs. We saw it in the Super Bowl. Those guys were making plays at critical moments. And that’s what we need.

"So if we can add a critical piece like that in the course of the draft, we’re certainly going to do that."

Many hoped that Higgins would be the piece the Bears could add. That trade talk was always ridiculous.

The Higgins, Burrow, and Chase extensions can be spaced out enough that the Bengals can afford all three. The tough decisions will come with other parts of their roster, like pending free agent safety Jessie Bates, running back Joe Mixon, and others.

But Higgins' future, at least for now, is in Cincinnati. The Bears' great wide receiver search will have to continue somewhere else.

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