Bengals' Duke Tobin on Tee Higgins trade rumors: 'I'm not in the business of making other teams better'

Browns Bengals Football
Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-28 17:11:04-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Are the Bengals willing to trade Tee Higgins? Duke Tobin, Cincinnati's director of player personnel, called any trade rumors surrounding their receiver "a little ridiculous."

"I'm not in the business of making other teams better," Tobin said while speaking to the media during the 2023 NFL Combine. "I'm in the business of making the Cincinnati Bengals better. So trading Tee Higgins is not on my mind."

As he enters the last year of his rookie contract, Higgins has become the object of desire for other teams' fans. Tobin, though, said those teams will have to look elsewhere.

"That's their problem," Tobin said. "They want a receiver? Go find your own. In my opinion, Tee Higgins is a good piece for the Cincinnati Bengals."

Higgins laughed off any rumors while in Arizona for Super Bowl 57, saying he hopes the current Bengals lineup stays together "for a long time."

"I plan on being in Cincinnati for a while, so I mean, we're gonna see what happens," Higgins said.

Rumors that Higgins could be traded took off after The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr. wrote a story on what Cincinnati could do this offseason in terms of extensions, free agency signings and trades. Dehner never said a Higgins trade was likely, only saying that the Bengals could trade him like the Titans did A.J. Brown if it's clear the two sides won't "see eye to eye" on contract negotiations.

The Bengals, Tobin said, will "jump at the chance" to get deals done with their young players — especially Higgins and Burrow, whose contract he said is not yet done. Tobin called both players vital parts of their team and said Higgins represents everything they want from a player.

"A guy that comes in, develops, fills the role, helps us win in a lot of ways, does it the right way, fits into our culture," Tobin said. "Tee's an exceptional football player and I envision him being part of what we do going forward for a long time. That's the hope. We want our guys — and especially our guys that come in and prove that they can help us win in a big way."

Tobin said he understands Cincinnati won't be able to keep all of their players. Burrow is expected to get a huge extension, which will impact how much the Bengals can spend on their other players.

"My job is to have as many good players on our football team as we can fit in, so it's a challenging piece as our players mature and earn bigger contracts and find the successes thereafter," said Tobin. "It's our job to keep as many of them as we can. You know the reality of the NFL is that it's hard to do, but it's not impossible and we'll fit the puzzle back together."