The Cleveland Browns re-signed fan-favorite wide receiver Rashard Higgins this week, bringing back the former Colorado State standout after he explored free agency.
Higgins signed a one-year deal with the Browns for the veteran’s minimum of $910,000, reportedly turning down more money from multiple teams to come back to Cleveland.
Higgins is now one of the longest tenured players on the roster due to the tumultuous landscape in Cleveland and he’s seen a lot. The Browns went 1-15 his rookie season and then 0-16 the following year. Then Higgins was then a key part of what was seen as a turnaround for the Browns, but lost his way under former head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Under Kitchens, Higgins was expected to compete for the No. 3 wide receiver spot behind Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. But things went awry under Kitchens and that role never truly played out. Down the stretch, he was routinely out-snapped by Damion Ratley and KhaDarel Hodge.
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 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 Mayfield as a security blanket of sorts, with the quarterback speaking up at times about the chemistry he had with Higgins.
Rashard Higgins Betting on Himself
The bad times in Cleveland would have scared many away, especially considering what happened during his contract year. However, the ride with the Browns is what ultimately brought Higgins back to Cleveland, per Higgins’ interview with cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
“I’ve been through hell and back in Cleveland and I’ve seen the rain and now it’s time for the sunshine,” Higgins said. “I want to see us prevail. I want to see us win, so I couldn’t give it up that easy. I’m not in it for the money, I’m in it for the glory. I’d rather just win with a team that I’ve been with.”
Higgins spoke on taking less money to remain on Twitter, saying, “I know if I take care of business, I know the money a come.”
Baker Mayfield Big Part of Equation
Higgins relationship with QB Baker Mayfield cannot be undervalued in his decision to come back. Following being picked No. 1 overall, Mayfield built a great rapport with Higgins.
“The film doesn’t lie. I’m a good receiver, and I feel like me and Baker [Mayfield] having a good chemistry that can go a long way,” Higgins said, saying that he felt Mayfield put in the good word for him with the new Browns regime of general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Mayfield finished last year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at his disposal.
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