PFF proposes strange Bengals-Lions Tee Higgins trade
The Cincinnati Bengals can work out an extension with Tee Higgins this offseason and it is obvious the star receiver wants to stay with Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Ja’Marr Chase wants to see it happen too.
That won’t stop Higgins from coming up in trade speculation though, for better or worse.
Pro Football Focus’s Brad Spielberger, for example, just proposed a deal in which the Bengals ship Higgins to Detroit for a first-round pick and an additional mid-rounder, citing recent examples from around the league:
“Higgins is the lone rookie contract player who makes our list here. He would probably be traded later in the offseason as compared to the above players, all of whom could be moved right after the 2023 league year begins on March 15. As we saw last offseason across the NFL, the game’s top young wide receivers taken outside of the first round — and thus without fifth-year options in their contracts — can all but refuse to play in the final year of their rookie deals without a multi-year extension. Will Higgins end up like Deebo Samuel, back with his drafting team on a strong new deal, or like A.J. Brown, traded to a new team around the draft.”
The writeup also accurately mentions that Higgins shares the same agent as Jessie Bates, a rep the team has never done well with.
Still, Bates was also a second-round pick. He ended up getting tagged and playing on that tag before heading to free agency. If Higgins follows suit, the Bengals will have him for at least through the 2024 season.
It’s hard to imagine it comes to that, of course. Chase has already hinted Burrow will structure his extension in a way that will help the team keep all of his weapons. And part of likely letting Bates walk this offseason after drafting Dax Hill is about re-allocating some of that money into the offense around Burrow.
So far, Chase and Higgins have given zero indication they would want to leave a Super Bowl contender with Burrow under center. And the Bengals don’t have any reason to give up Higgins’ fourth year of a rookie contract, plus potentially more, for a draft pick — sacrificing his productivity and the Super Bowl window for a question mark of a prospect they end up drafting.
At this point, a team could offer multiple first-round picks for Higgins and the Bengals probably wouldn’t blink.
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