AFC Notes: Tee Higgins, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


With their decision to place the franchise tag on WR Tee Higgins, the Bengals have commenced a contract dance that will take place for months. There’s a good chance they won’t see Higgins for the rest of the offseason and potentially all or most of training camp, and as long as Higgins doesn’t sign the tag he can’t be fined for those absences. It’s a tense situation that has the potential to boil over, but Bengals HC Zac Taylor believes in the foundation of the relationship the two sides have built to prevent potential acrimony. 

“We take a lot of value in the relationship that we have with Tee for moments like this because it is the business side,” Taylor said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “I understand. It can be frustrating. Tee has not given me any of that. … And we think the world of Tee, and he’s in this position because of the work that he’s put in for us and the value he has for us, and we want to make sure we don’t lose him. And so that’s just the business part we’re in right now, and we will continue to work through that. But fortunately, I think that we’ve got a great relationship with Tee and that’ll carry us through the offseason.”

That uncertainty is partially why Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin was a lot less definitive about Higgins’ future at the Combine than he was the year before. Asked about the possibility of trading Higgins, Tobin pointed out he’s never executed a tag-and-trade, and while there are plenty of promising receivers in the upcoming class, they’re unknowns compared to Higgins. 

“The college game just lends itself to a lot of (receivers), and there’s a lot of different-style guys, and so there will always be guys coming in,” Tobin said. “You’ve got to make the right choices when you do it. It is a position that we feel pretty strongly that we can identify with our situation and our quarterback, but when you have a bird in the hand, you like to continue with them if you think that they’re going to continue to produce for you.”


Ravens GM Eric DeCosta spoke with reporters at the NFL Combine on Tuesday and entertained the idea of bringing back both RB Gus Edwards and RB J.K. Dobbins in free agency. With just two running backs under contract, Baltimore will likely look to add a few in the offseason if they let either Edwards or Dobbins walk.

“We’re still talking to Gus. We’ll talk to J.K. – a couple of free agents that we had,” DeCosta said, via Glenn Erby of the Ravens Wire. “We’re hopeful that we can get something done with those guys.”

HC John Harbaugh spoke later and he had good things to say about RB Justice Hill, along with addressing the free-agent backs.

“I love the way Justice played. He was incredible all year, took another step. He’s a great player, then, after that, we just have to see. We would love to get Gus back. J.K. is floating around out there. Those guys have been with us. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”


  • Steelers GM Omar Khan mentioned RT Broderick Jones will make the move to LT at some point: “He was drafted to play left tackle.” (Ray Fittipaldo)
  • Khan was “in no hurry” to answer a question about the fifth-year option on RB Najee Harris. Pittsburgh has until May 2nd to decide whether to pick up the option, which would cost the Steelers $6.8 million in 2025. (Fittipaldo)
  • When asked about QB Kenny Pickett, Khan replied: “I have full faith in Kenny. He’s shown us some good things, and obviously there were some issues with the offense.” (Mike DeFabo)

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