DeVonta Smith’s Contract Outlook Brightens with Bengals’ Franchise Tag Decision

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The Bengals’ decision regarding Tee Higgins has inadvertently smoothed the path for DeVonta Smith’s contract negotiations with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Bengals’ announcement on Monday to utilize the franchise tag on Tee Higgins, valuing him at $21.8 million for the upcoming season, has significant implications for wide receiver contracts across the league. 

Despite Higgins assuming the role of the Bengals’ No. 2 receiver following Ja’Marr Chase’s arrival, his substantial one-year deal positions him among the top-paid receivers in the NFL for 2024.

In contrast, DeVonta Smith, entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, faces an impending renegotiation. Despite impressive performances since his rookie year, Smith has been overshadowed by acquisitions like A.J. Brown, leading to his designation as the Eagles’ No. 2 receiver. 

However, with Higgins setting a precedent for No. 2 receivers’ compensation, Smith stands to benefit from increased leverage in his contract talks.

DeVonta Smith’s Measured Approach

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The Bengals’ decision regarding Tee Higgins has inadvertently smoothed the path for DeVonta Smith’s contract negotiations with the Philadelphia Eagles.

DeVonta Smith’s current contract details highlight the stark contrast in earnings, with a base salary of $1 million and a $6.4 million cap hit after bonuses for the upcoming season. The potential exercise of a fifth-year option could see his earnings rise to $15.5 million in 2025.

Philadelphia’s strategic response to the evolving market dynamics becomes crucial, with an additional $13 million in cap space available across NFL teams. 

Offering DeVonta Smith a contract commensurate with Higgins’ impending earnings would not only secure their valuable receiver but also preempt future market inflation driven by impending free agents like Ja’Marr Chase and CeeDee Lamb.

Smith’s measured approach, as indicated in his remarks to the Philadelphia Inquirer, underscores the significance of negotiating a favorable deal amidst a shifting landscape. 

With Higgins’ contract setting a precedent and looming market changes on the horizon, the Eagles would be prudent to act swiftly in extending Smith’s contract, ensuring stability and competitiveness in their receiving corps for the seasons to come.

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