The reunion Cleveland Browns fans were hoping for is coming to fruition, with the team rolling out the red carpet and agreeing to a one-year deal with wide receiver Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins.
Higgins is returning to the Browns on a one-year deal per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com and gives the team an experienced pass-catcher who has history with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The deal is for one-year and just $910,000, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter, who said that Higgins turned down more money elsewhere to return to Cleveland. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will make a combined $27 million next year, but no other receiver currently signed makes more than $1 million.
Higgins had hinted at the deal earlier in the day, tweeting: “Got something to tell yall ……” The Browns have made a few key decisions following the draft, including picking up the fifth-year options for DE Myles Garrett and TE David Njoku.
Higgins’ Relationship With Browns Fell Apart Last Season
Higgins was expected to function as the Browns No. 3 wide receiver last season behind Landry and Beckham. However, that role never truly played out and he was routinely out-snapped by Damion Ratley and KhaDarel Hodge down the stretch.
Higgins was injured in the team’s opener, missing multiple weeks with an MCL sprain. He was never able to get on track after that, finding himself in former head coach Freddie Kitchen’s doghouse after some comments to media members on why he wasn’t active in Week 5. Higgins managed just four catches for 55 yards and one touchdown all of last year.
In the year prior, Higgins had 39 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns — all career highs. He also built a strong rapport with quarterback Baker Mayfield as a security blanket of sorts, with the quarterback speaking up at times about the chemistry he had with Higgins.
Higgins’ lone highlight last year came against Buffalo, when he caught the game-winning touchdown.
Rashard Higgins Key Piece for Browns Offense
While the Browns have addressed many of their weaknesses in free agency and the draft, the team was still in need of some wide receiver depth.
The returning wide receivers for the Browns include Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Damion Ratley, Taywan Taylor, KhaDarel Hodge, D.J. Montgomery and J’Mon Moore. The team added return man and wide receiver JoJo Natson in free agency and drafted Donovan Peoples-Jones in the sixth round of the draft.
“With Donovan, we got a player that has played outside and inside,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters in a post-draft conference call. “I think there is versatility with this player in terms of where you can play him in the formation. Having return ability and having a history in the return game helps. I do think he has the physical skillset to be a special teamer. There is a lot this kid can do. Then, it is going to be a matter of him showing it to us.”
Peoples-Jones is excited to get his shot in the NFL working alongside Beckham and Landry.
“Personally, I love competition. Personally I rise when the competition rises,” Peoples-Jones said. “Those are two of the best receivers in the NFL. I am so thankful for this opportunity to come to Cleveland. I really can not wait.”