WR Ja’Marr Chase Not At Bengals’ OTAs

Several extension-eligible receivers are skipping out on OTAs as they try to exert their leverage for new deals. To no surprise, that list includes Ja’Marr Chase.

The Bengals opened their organized team activities on Tuesday, and ESPN’s Ben Baby notes Chase was among the players not in attendance. The three-time Pro Bowler is in his first year of being eligible for an extension, though he is on the books through 2025 with his fifth-year option having been picked up. As a result, Chase is on track to collect $21.82MM next year.

His annual earnings on a multi-year pact will of course be much higher. Chase, along with the likes of Justin Jefferson (Vikings) and CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys) is a candidate to reach the top of the receiver market on his next pact. Amon-Ra St. Brown and A.J. Brown‘s respective extension pushed that mark past $30MM per season; Brown’s AAV sits at $32MM.

As expected, fellow Bengals wideout Tee Higgins has not yet signed his franchise tag. As a result, he is not eligible to take part in the team’s OTAs. Higgins remains in Cincinnati’s long-term plans, but keeping him in the fold would require a lucrative commitment in addition to the one forthcoming for Chase and the one made last offseason to quarterback Joe Burrow. The latter has resumed throwing, but he will work with a notably different array of receivers this spring if Chase and Higgins remain absent.

Veteran Tyler Boyd departed in the Bengals in free agency, taking a one-year Titans deal as his former team plans for an expensive Chase-Higgins tandem. The latter’s future remains in the air, but the latter has cemented his status as one of the league’s top wideouts at any age. Chase, 24, has amassed 3,717 yards and 29 touchdowns in regular season play, adding a combined 45-588-3 statline in two playoff runs. Even with Burrow attached to a $55MM-per-year deal, keeping him on the books for the long haul will be critical to Cincinnati’s offense.

Team and player have plenty of time to hammer out an agreement in Chase’s case. The Bengals’ actions with Higgins will no doubt be a critical short-term consideration, but regardless of what happens on that front the former Offensive Rookie of the Year is positioned to cash in on his next deal. It would come as a surprise if he participated in Cincinnati’s remaining voluntary workouts without an agreement in hand, though Chase could return for mandatory minicamp in June and training camp the following month.

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