Steelers Projected to Sign Rival WR to $99.7 Million Contract in 2025

George Pickens Tee Higgins

Getty Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport predicted the Pittsburgh Steelers to add Tee Higgins to their wide receiver corps with George Pickens next year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are thin at wide receiver. There are few options remaining in NFL free agency, so the Steelers will likely wait until perhaps next year to make a big splash signing at wideout. If that becomes the team’s plan, Tee Higgins could be an intriguing option.

At least Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport argued that he would be. Davenport predicted the Steelers to sign Higgins to a 4-year contract worth $99.7 million during 2025 free agency.

The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Higgins this offseason. Cincinnati could still trade Higgins, but Davenport argued the Bengals won’t do that because the return on veteran receivers in trades this offseason has been low.

If Higgins departs in free agency next year, the Bengals will receive a third-round compensatory selection in 2026.

Higgins posted 42 catches for 656 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2023. While those were career lows, he only played in 12 games because of injuries and averaged a career-high 15.6 yards per catch.

In four NFL seasons, Higgins has caught 257 passes for 3,684 yards and 24 touchdowns in 58 games. He’s averaged 95.8 receiving yards per game and nearly 18 yards per catch in six contests against the Steelers.

Will the Cincinnati Bengals Sign Tee Higgins to Long-Term Extension?

Under the franchise tag, Higgins and the Bengals have until July 15 to agree to a long-term deal. If the two sides do not agree to terms, Higgins will play on the franchise tag, which is worth $21.816 million for the 2024 season.

The Bengals lost veteran wide receiver Tyler Boyd to free agency this offseason. So, it was vital for Cincinnati to retain Higgins.

But Cincinnati locking Higgins into a long-term deal seems unlikely. Last year, the Bengals gave quarterback Joe Burrow a contract with an NFL record $55 million average annual salary.

Additionally, like Higgins, fellow wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase needs a new deal.

Davenport predicted the Bengals to sign Chase to a 4-year, $133.5 million contract. After Chase’s big deal, Cincinnati may not want to sign Higgins to an expensive extension.

It will also not be cost effective to place the franchise tag on Higgins a second straight year. Unless the Bengals sign Higgins to a long-term deal before July 15, he’s likely to become a free agent in 2025.

Could the Steelers Sign Higgins in 2025 NFL Free Agency?

It’s hard to predict exactly what an NFL team might do in a year. One year ago, the Steelers appeared poised to build their offense around young quarterback Kenny Pickett, and that’s obviously changed.

But as of April 2024, the Steelers need more weapons at wide receiver.

After trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers at the beginning of NFL free agency, George Pickens became the only receiver on Pittsburgh’s roster who had at least 210 receiving yards last season.

Since trading Johnson, the Steelers signed veteran wideouts Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins. But neither receiver had 210 yards in 2023.

With Higgins, the Steelers would be adding an experience pass catcher who could easily slide into the No. 2 role behind Pickens.

The top three receivers currently behind Pickens on the Pittsburgh depth chart, Jefferson, Watkins and Calvin Austin III combined for 531 receiving yards during 2023. Higgins produced more in an injury-filled 2023 season.

The potential biggest obstacle to the Steelers signing Higgins could be the same issue the Bengals are expected to experience.

Pickens’ rookie contract expires after the 2025 season. The Steelers may have to be prudent at receiver next offseason if they plan to re-sign Pickens.

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