Bengals could trade Tee Higgins if 'numbers are outrageous'
Bengals could trade Tee Higgins if 'numbers are outrageous' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Oh boy, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins could be on the market and Chicago Bears fans think he could be the perfect partner for Justin Fields.
Fans have seen the leap young quarterbacks have taken when they got a star wide receiver, like Josh Allen with Stefon Diggs for the Buffalo Bills. Or Jalen Hurts with A.J. Brown for the Philadelphia Eagles, who are playing in the Super Bowl. Or even Tua Tagovailoa with Tyreek Hill for the Miami Dolphins.
Getting that star receiver for Fields is definitely a priority, and general manager Ryan Poles has already attempted to bolster the receiver room by trading for Chase Claypool at the trade deadline.
But with a free agent class currently lacking options at receiver, trades for players like Higgins are the source of hope for fans.
RELATED: Tee Higgins trade unlikely to be Bears' answer to No. 1 WR issue
And thanks to one tweet on Friday sourcing a column from The Athletic, the trade for Higgins discussion kicked into another gear.
Report: Bengals WR Tee Higgins "could be traded" for a top draft pick if the team can't reach an extension with him and the money he's asking for is "outrageous", per @TheAtlantic
Higgins is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and went over 1,000 back to back seasons pic.twitter.com/cW0bKNxKqO
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) February 3, 2023
"If the numbers are outrageous and it’s clear the two sides won’t see eye to eye, the Bengals could go the route taken by multiple teams in recent seasons and deal the receiver for a top draft pick and start the cycle over with a rookie receiver," Bengals writer Paul Dehner Jr. wrote.
A lot of dominos would need to fall to create the opportunity to trade Higgins for in the first place.
The first of those dominos is a breakdown in discussions between the Bengals and Higgins.
The next would be Higgins demanding a trade, away from a Bengals team that went to back-to-back AFC Championships with Joe Burrow under center.
Then comes the Bears putting together an appealing trade package.
It's worth noting the Bears might not have that top draft pick to offer. The Bears wouldn't trade the No. 1 overall pick for Higgins, unless it came with a bevvy of other assets from the Bengals, who are picking towards the end of the first round.
Currently the Bears' next pick is late in the second round (52nd-overall, from the Baltimore Ravens in the Roquan Smith trade). Perhaps that pick and the Bears' third-round pick (65th-overall) would get the deal done.
The Bears might need to trade down from No. 1, then trade whatever lower first-round pick, or high second-round pick, they acquire for Higgins, but that's just another domino that would need to fall.
Then after acquiring Higgins, if the Bears made the trade, a long-term extension would need to be negotiated.
Dehner Jr. notes the most likely outcome of the situation is Higgins playing out the final year of his rookie contract, just as Jessie Bates did. The Bengals would have the option of slapping the franchise tag on Tee Higgins and kicking of trade talks next offseason.
NBC Sports Chicago's Bears Insider Josh Schrock broke down how the Bengals can work the salary cap to sign Burrow and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase to extensions, while also extending Higgins to keep that trio together.
The Bengals have an estimated $44 million in cap space, the fourth-most in the NFL. All but four starters on both sides of the ball are under contract through next year.
So the Bengals have the flexibility to get an extension done.
Would be nice though.
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