NFL Live Adam Schefter Dan Orlovsky Screenshot

Wide receiver Tee Higgins’ future with the Cincinnati Bengals has spurred plenty of speculation in recent weeks, and it sparked a surprisingly animated debate Wednesday on ESPN’s NFL Live.

Higgins told Cincinnati’s WLWT 5 Sunday he expects to play for the Bengals in 2024. But his future with the team is murky, as he’s eligible for free agency after next season. The Bengals placed a $21.8 million franchise tag on him in February, prompting him to request a trade. He and the team have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal.

NFL insider Adam Schefter contended that even if Higgins plays for the Bengals this season, there will be questions about his commitment.

“So what’s going to happen β€” middle of the season β€” if and when his knee is creaky, his hamstring is tight, his shoulder is sore?” Schefter asked. “Is he playing through those injuries weeks before he becomes a free agent? Or is he going to be making a business decision?”

“But here’s the thing, Schef,” Dan Orlovsky responded. “Do you think a team is randomly going to pay you if you’re not healthy?”

“Absolutely. He’s getting paid! He’s getting paid!” Schefter said emphatically.

“How many times have we seen this play out?” Schefter continued. He then reached back to 2014, pointing out how the New Orleans Saints made free agent Jairus Byrd the highest-paid safety in the NFL.

“He had all kinds of injury issues. Somebody, no matter what season Tee Higgins has, is going to pay him. So at some point this year, I’m just saying, I think there will be business decisions made.”

Marcus Spears jumped into the debate and sided with Orlovsky, saying it was unfair to question Higgins’ motivation.

“I’m not pretending to know Tee Higgins and how he’s approaching this offseason,” he said. “He’s probably pissed off.”

It’s the type of heated debate normally reserved for the NFL’s marquee stars, not a No. 2 wide receiver, albeit a talented one. But the conversation definitely entertained the masses.

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About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.