Duke Tobin was aware of recent trade rumblings regarding Bengals wideout Tee Higgins. Tobin, speaking Tuesday from the NFL combine, emphatically shut down such rumblings. 

Cincinnati's general manager made it clear that the Bengals are not interested in parting ways with Higgins, a 1,000-yard receiver each of the last two years who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. 

"Trading Tee Higgins is not on my mind," Tobin said before offering a message to teams in need of help at receiver. "That's their problem. They want a receiver, go find your own, you know? In my opinion, Tee Higgins is a good piece for the Cincinnati Bengals. The trade stuff is a little ridiculous right now." 

Prior to Super Bowl LVII, Higgins himself made it clear that he has no plans to leave the franchise anytime soon.  

"I've seen that," Higgins said of the rumors during an interview with Pro Football Talk from Radio Row in Arizona. "Obviously, I ain't say nothing about it. Nobody within my team said anything about it. So when I saw it, it was shocking to me. 

"At the end of the day, I know what I've got going on internally with the organization. I love Cincinnati, I love being there." 

Tee Higgins
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As Tobin confirmed on Tuesday, the feeling is mutual inside the Bengals' facility. Higgins, who is part of the Bengals' 2020 rookie class that also included quarterback Joe Burrow, has played an integral role in the team's recent success. The Bengals' five playoff wins over the past two years matches the total amount of postseason wins the franchise won during its first 53 years of existence. 

Higgins is part of the most dynamic receiving trio in the league that also features Ja'Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd. But with Chase and Burrow also expecting to receive extensions, many have assumed that Higgins will be the odd man out. That does not, however, appear to be the case. 

Prior to the start of the 2022 season, Bengals owner Mike Brown made it clear that the team's priority is to keep its offensive core together for the long haul. 

"We see the train coming," Brown said of Burrow's extension, via Cincinnati.com. "Then behind him is the receivers pretty soon."

Note that Brown said receivers, not receiver. That would indicate that the team's long-term plans also include Higgins, who led all receivers in last year's Super Bowl with two touchdowns and 100 receiving yards. 

Keeping Higgins won't be easy. His current market value is $80.6 million over four years for an average annual salary of just over $20 million, according to Spotrac. Chase's projected market value calls for him to make over $25 million annually. Burrow's projected market value would pay him roughly $44 million annually. 

The Bengals can keep Higgins, but it will require some sacrifice on several fronts. The team will have to part ways with several other key players who will likely include linebacker Germaine Pratt and safety Jessie Bates III. It would also help if Burrow accepts a fair but reasonable contract extension. Based on his prior comments regarding his desire to continue to contend for championships, it appears that Burrow will indeed go that route. 

"It's good to hear," Higgins said of Burrow's possible contract expectations during an appearance on CBS Sports HQ. "I love Cincinnati. Great city, great people, great fans, great organization. …  I'd love to be there for my whole career."