A.J. Green officially passed the torch to Tee Higgins Wednesday when reports had the Bengals seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver signing a one-year deal in Arizona.
Higgins, who just so happens to be working out in Arizona, says he's ready to replace his idol as the Bengals' No. 1 outside receiver bolstered by two-time 1,000-yard slot man Tyler Boyd, two-time 1,000-yard rusher Joe Mixon and the man that found him four times in his first seven starts for touchdowns in quarterback Joe Burrow.
"Like everybody has been saying. Now's the time," Higgins said after Green reached his agreement with Arizona Wednesday afternoon. "And me and Joe and Tyler and Joe Mixon, we're just going to go out and be great and be who we are. About winning games for the Bengals."
The Bengals went about trying to win some games during a busy day in March. According to reports they agreed with experienced defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi from the Browns to a one-year deal after reports they made an offer to the highest rated player left on the Pro Football Talk and Pro Football Focus board in Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Also, the Bengals are set to host Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff for a physical and visit, according to reports, and the news also had them bringing back backup running back Samaje Perine and backup cornerback Tony Brown.
The Bengals have seen the 6-3, 305-pound Ogunjobi plenty. He's made 47 starts during his four seasons in Cleveland and has an impressive line against the Bengals in eight games with 1.5 sacks, six tackles for loss and four quarterback hits. It remains to be seen how much they plan to use him next to nose tackle D.J. Reader. But he has shown both an ability to rush the passer (11 sacks in 2018-19) and stop the run (more than 2,700 career snaps) as the watch continues on what the Bengals will do with eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
At 26, Ogunobi gives the Bengals much needed youth at a position that was manned by 31-year-old Mike Daniels and a pair of 29-year-olds in Xavier Williams and Christian Covington during an injury plagued 2020 season that robbed the 32-year-old Atkins of half the year. They may also be in the mix to re-sign Daniels and some of the others.
Golladay, headed for a visit with the Giants to reportedly get the hip checked out that limited him to five games last season, is the long ball ace the Bengals have been seeking. According to PFF, Golladay's 628 yards on deep (20-plus yard) passes were second in the league in 2019. A nice fit for a team that had just five passes of at least 40 yards last season. The monstrous 6-4, 214-pound Golladay had six by himself in '19.
The 6-6, 305-pound Reiff, cut by the Vikings last week, has received better run-blocking grades than pass protection grades from PFF. But PFF also calls him "one of the most consistent offensive tackles in the league," during his nine seasons.
Perine had some big games in place of the injured Mixon on his way to averaging 4.8 yards per his 63 carries while also contributing heavily to special teams. Tony Brown had one start while playing primarily in the kicking game.
Higgins says the hamstring injury that hobbled him the last moth of the season and eventually knocked him out of the finale is back to full go. He has thought about the play on the third snap of the last game when he blew out the hamstring, preventing him from setting the Bengals rookie record for catches.
Still, 67 for 908 yards is quite solid.
"I'm definitely ready. I've been overlooked, but that's fine with me," said Higgins, apparently still mindful he was the seventh receiver drafted. "I'm ready to go out there and be me and play my game.
"I think it would have been a great honor to break Cris Collinsworth's record and then get closer to 1,000 yards. That would have been a goal setter for me. I had a great season for a rookie. I hope I have a better second season than my rookie year."