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Curran, Perry: Why Pats shouldn't trade for WR Tee Higgins

Curran, Perry: Why Pats shouldn't trade for WR Tee Higgins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Despite being franchise-tagged by the Cincinnati Bengals, 25-year-old wide receiver Tee Higgins requested a trade on Sunday after becoming upset over the lack on long-term contract discussions from the team. With the recent news that the New England Patriots will reportedly release DeVante Parker on Wednesday, should the team look to approach the Bengals to trade for a new WR1?

Our Phil Perry, Tom E. Curran, and Tom Giles discussed the possibility of New England acquiring the talented receiver via trade on the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition, but their takes on the move might surprise you.

"If the Patriots were to go and take a trade, they would certainly be bringing in a player, paying him at least a franchise number, and giving up a resource -- could be a second-round pick -- and then paying him $30 million a year," Curran said. "I think Tee Higgins is more prohibitive because of the outlay in picks -- you've got to build the football team."

Curran's suggestion of Higgins' value being a second-round pick -- the Patriots own No. 34 in this year's draft -- would leave New England without a pick after their No. 3 selection until the third round with pick No. 68. As Perry later mentions, the Pats could use that second-rounder to select a receiver for the future that will also save the team money by being on a rookie deal.

"I would lean more towards somebody like Calvin Ridley -- who's only going to cost you money -- vs. somebody like Tee Higgins, who gives you a little different of a body type," Perry added.

"If you're looking for that true player, that true 'X' receiver, that's really Tee Higgins more so than Calvin Ridley, but that big deal plus the second round pick -- No. 34 overall where there are going to be good receivers available to you, there might even be a pretty good tackle available to you at the top of the second round because it's such a deep class at that position in this year's draft -- that to me is almost a non-starter."

With Ridley as a free agent, the Patriots could simply sign him without having to give up anything else in return. With the team in a rebuild, draft picks are gold and should be used to fill the gaps on the roster, not used as trade bait to bring in a receiver when they could draft or sign one instead.

After a year away from the game, Ridley returned with the Jacksonville Jaguars and posted more than 1,000 yards for the second time in his career. Now 29, Ridley hauled in 76 receptions on 136 targets with eight touchdowns. With his 2021 season cut short to just five games, the former first-round pick likely still has some fresh legs compared to others his age, playing just four full seasons without any major injury.

Higgins, on the other hand, just completed his fourth season posting career lows. After two back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, the former second-round pick fell to just 656 yards on 42 receptions with five touchdowns. Now 25, the Clemson product would likely be looking for a massive contract extension if brought to New England -- something the team can ill afford to pay when considering the rest of the holes in the roster.

What should the solution be? In Curran's mind, leave Higgins be, sign Calvin Ridley, draft a rookie, and let DeMario Douglas -- who Curran believes can be a top slot receiver in the league -- do his thing alongside the reportedly re-signed Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry.

"You should be able to take the field with a straight face and say, 'we might be able to score 24 [points] on you people,'" Curran said of his solution if it were to come to fruition.