Higgins isn't set to become a free agent, but enters the third year of his four-year, $8.6 million rookie contract with the Bengals also looking to lock down several other key offensive players including quarterback Joe Burrow and fellow wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
Cincinnati currently has $44 million in cap space, the fourth-most among all NFL teams, but could consider a trade for Higgins if negotiations become "outrageous," following a similar path taken by other franchises recently, according to Dehner.
Last offseason, several of the league's top wide receivers were traded amid contract disputes, which included the Tennessee Titans trading A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs shipping Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, as well as the Green Bay Packers completing a sign-and-trade involving Davante Adams shortly after placing a franchise tag on him.
Higgins was second behind only Chase in receptions (74), receiving yards (1,029) and receiving touchdowns (7) among all Bengals players. The former Clemson standout was selected by Cincinnati at No. 33 overall in the second-round of the 2020 NFL Draft, having recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards during each of the past two seasons, as well as 908 yards during his rookie season.