Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins stands on the sidelines...

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins stands on the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Jan. 7, 2024, in Cincinnati. Higgins signed his franchise tender on Monday. but his future in Cincinnati remains in doubt. Credit: AP/Jeff Dean

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins signed his one-year franchise tender for the 2024 season on Monday.

However, his long-term future with the team remains in doubt.

The fifth-year wideout received the franchise tag in February and didn't participate in recent organized team workouts, including last week's three-day minicamp.

Higgins will make $21.8 million — the designated franchise tag value for receivers this upcoming season — and the Bengals will have at least one more season with Ja'Marr Chase and Higgins as one the NFL's top wideout duos, with a healthy Joe Burrow throwing to them.

If the 25-year-old Higgins and the Bengals don't come together on a long-term deal before July 15, he can become a free agent next March and be eligible to sign with any team.

“I’m excited to move forward with Tee,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said in a statement. “He’s done a great job handling his situation, and we are happy to get him back in the fold so we can start working toward a great 2024 season. The locker room will be excited to have him back around.”

Since his second season in 2021, Higgins has played in the shadow of Chase, who is expected to get a long-term contract extension in the neighborhood of Justin Jefferson's four-year, $140 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

Whenever Cincinnati adds Chase's next contract to the five-year, $275 million extension Burrow signed before the 2023 season, the team is not expected to offer a long-term deal to its No. 2 receiver.

A second-round draft pick in 2020 — Burrow was the top overall pick in that draft — Higgins has 257 catches for 3,684 yards and 24 touchdowns, including back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and ’22. He was key part of the Bengals drive to the Super Bowl after the 2021 season.

He finished with 656 yards and five TDs last season while struggling with a rib injury.

Tyler Boyd signed with Tennessee as a free agent in May. And the Bengals are hoping 2024 third-round draft pick Jermaine Burton from Alabama will work his way into the receiver rotation, with promising youngsters Charlie Jones and Andrei Iosivas also in that mix.

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