Browns Fan-Favorite Receiver Won’t Be Back Next Season: Report

Rashard Higgins

Getty Images Rashard Higgins and Jarvis Landry of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are expected to part ways with impending free agent wide receiver Rashard Higgins this offseason.

Higgins was drafted by the Browns in the fifth round of the 2016 draft and has been able to carve out a role since. Higgins decided to re-sign with the Browns last offseason on a one-year, $2.37 million deal despite drawing some reported interest from other teams. One of the longest-tenured Browns, Higgins has struggled through some terrible years in Cleveland, including the 0-16 season in 2017.

However, after a down year, the two sides are expected to part ways, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Higgins has had nine lives since being drafted by the Browns in the fifth round in 2016 out of Colorado State, but his career here has come to an end, a league source tells cleveland.com.

Higgins agents will meet with the Browns on Thursday, but it’s expected that the two sides will agree to part ways and he’ll hit the free agent market. It was a down year for Higgins, with the low point coming Nov. 28th when he was a healthy scratch for the Ravens game. In a season when Baker Mayfield struggled, it seemed odd that the Browns didn’t use one of his favorites more, but something was obviously off.


Higgins Had Chemistry With Browns QB Baker Mayfield


Alex Van Pelt on Baker Mayfield: "His confidence won't waver at all"Alex Van Pelt addresses the media on December 31st, 2021. #BrownsMedia #PressConference2021-12-31T16:13:27Z

Higgins caught 24 balls for 275 yards and caught one touchdown pass. As mentioned by Cabot, Higgins’ role within the offense was wildly inconsistent, even going down as a healthy scratch at times. Despite that, the Browns backed Higgins as his production and opportunity waned.

“He is a guy who just shows up and makes the plays when they come to him for the most part. I know he and Bake have a really good feel for each other, especially when it comes onto the field,” Van Pelt told reporters in December. “I can see him stepping up here for us in the run here as we get down through these last few games of playing well. I do not know if it was anything he did during the course of the year that has not allowed him to be as productive, but I do know when his number is called, he makes plays for us.”

One thing Higgins has going for him was his chemistry with Mayfield, which started being built back in 2018, when Mayfield had not yet been named the starter and worked with Higgins with the second team.

“Sometimes I know when I line up and Baker gives me that look, I’m like, ‘OK. The ball’s coming to me, so I’ve got to get open on this play,’” Higgins said last season. “Me and Baker, we’ve got a good connection with each other. He’s my boy. We’re just out here playing backyard football at times.”


Browns Have to Rebuild Wide Receiver Room

The Browns wide receiver room is expected to look vastly different compared to a year ago. Odell Beckham Jr. is now gone and Jarvis Landry appears to be joining Higgins on his way out.

Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz would be the key holdovers from a season ago, but neither are truly proven as reliable and consistent starters in the NFL. Peoples-Jones — a sixth-round pick in 2020 — led the Browns in receiving last year, racking up 597 yards on just 34 catches. Schwartz was the fastest player in the draft and was selected in the third round by the Browns in 2021. He dealt with some injuries and managed just 10 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown last season.

The Browns can look to free agency or a trade to shore up the position but will also investigate their options with the No. 13 overall pick in the draft.

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