Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals Extension Talks In “Holding Pattern”

As the Bengals navigate the Tee Higgins situation, they have another star wideout who’s awaiting some financial security. Ja’Marr Chase is now eligible for an extension, and when the Bengals opened their organized team activities on Tuesday, the receiver was not in attendance.

[RELATED: WR Ja’Marr Chase Not At Bengals’ OTAs]

While Chase’s absence is surely connected to his contract situation, it sounds like Cincy’s hands are currently tied. As ESPN’s Ben Baby points out, Chase and the Bengals are “in a holding pattern” while both sides await Justin Jefferson‘s inevitable extension with the Vikings. As Baby notes, even before Chase was eligible for an extension, the wideout was pointing to Jefferson’s impending deal. The Bengals have continued to make it clear that signing Chase is a priority for the organization, so it’s more a matter of when than if Chase signs a deal.

There isn’t as much urgency in Cincinnati as there is in Minnesota. Jefferson is heading into the final season of his rookie deal, so the Vikings would have to play the franchise-tag game if the two sides can’t hammer out an extension. After predictably having his fifth-year option picked up, Chase still has two years remaining on his rookie contract, so he has the luxury of seeing how negotiations unfold with his former LSU teammate.

Chase, Jefferson, and Cowboys star receiver CeeDee Lamb will be looking to reset the wide receiver market. Amon-Ra St. Brown and A.J. Brown‘s recent extensions pushed that value past a $30MM average annual value. Brown currently paces the position in AAV ($32MM) and total guarantees ($84MM), two marks that will surely be pushed down the list once that aforementioned trio inks their next contracts.

Considering the front office’s commitment to Joe Burrow, Chase’s next deal will further limit the organization’s ability to spend. We’re already seeing this upcoming extension’s influence on the Bengals’ handling of Higgins, so some cost certainty could go a long way for the front office.

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