The Detroit Lions have lots of ways to improve their roster for 2023, and with so many needs on defense, folks could be reluctant to offer ideas to boost the team’s offense.
Maintaining the fourth-overall offense in 2022, there could be a temptation to proclaim that group good enough for next season, especially in light of the return of offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and the resurgence of quarterback Jared Goff.
Still, the team could need to continue to be proactive in order to keep both those personalities at the top of their game, and a new trade pitch could give them an overwhelming way to do that for the future.
Pro Football Focus and writer Brad Spielberger took a look at the five trades to watch for this offseason, and while they didn’t have the Lions dealing for a big time defender like other deals, they did have them landing wideout Tee Higgins from the Cincinnati Bengals.
As Spielberger wrote, the team could be quietly devoid of big time playmakers in the wake of the deal which sent T.J. Hockenson packing. As a result, Higgins could give them an element of that back
“From Detroit’s perspective, while they made a huge trade-up in the 2022 NFL Draft for speedy wide receiver Jameson Williams, they followed that move up by sending tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings for a package including a second-round pick at the trade deadline. Here, the Lions send the No. 18 overall pick — the same pick the Philadelphia Eagles traded to the Tennessee Titans for A.J. Brown during last year’s draft — along with a future fourth-rounder for Higgins. Higgins can be the new big-bodied receiver in the Lions’ offense, filling the void left by Hockenson and potentially free agent D.J. Chark Jr. Last but certainly not least, the Lions will still have the No. 6 overall pick from the Los Angeles Rams in this year’s draft,” Speilberger wrote of the possible deal.
Dealing the 18th overall pick and a fourth-round pick could seem like a steep cost for a luxury item like Higgins, and surely, the Lions could simply decide to draft a wideout if they go this direction in the future.
Still, it’s hard to debate the big plays that Higgins would offer the Detroit offense and Goff if he was added to the mix. It’s safe to say this kind of trade would be one that would keep the quarterback very happy for the future while upgrading the offense.
Higgins Addition Could Make Lions Wideouts Scary
This past season, the Detroit wide receiver room was very impressive, and not just because they managed to see Amon-Ra St. Brown eclipse 1,000 yards on the season.
From top to bottom, the group produced. As a whole, Detroit pass catchers would put up 2,962 yards and 13 touchdowns this past season, which was very good. Names like Kalif Raymond (616 yards) and Josh Reynolds (479 yards) were significant for the Lions in terms of production.
Adding Higgins to the mix, however, could be the right idea for the Lions to get another elite player in the mix. As Spielberger pointed out, he’s been able to stay on the field and become one of the league’s best young deep threats in that time.
With that in mind, he could come in and form a formidable duo with St. Brown for the future that would be tough on opposing defenses to stop.
“Higgins has been durable and productive through his first three seasons, using his big frame to haul in 44 contested catches over the span — fifth most among wide receivers in the NFL — with his 25 catches on balls thrown 20-plus yards downfield tied for 14th. Defenses would be in a bind trying to defend Higgins, Williams and Amon-Ra St. Brown each week,” Spielberger wrote in the piece.
A guy like Higgins could transform the Lions’ wideout group given all he can do, which means he could be a smart addition if this move were to play out.
Higgins’ Career Stats & Highlights
In terms of Higgins, there is no doubting the talent of the young wide receiver who has already played in a Super Bowl and made plenty of impact plays with his team.
Higgins was a 2020 second-round pick out of Clemson by the Bengals, and has shown some impressive consistency so far in his career in the league. In all of his first three seasons, Higgins has gone above 900 yards receiving while posting six or more touchdowns.
The best of those seasons in terms of touchdowns came in 2022, when Higgins posted seven scores for the Bengals along with 1,029 yards receiving on the season. His highlight reel from the year was very impressive to note.
In total, Higgins has put up 3,028 yards and 19 touchdowns en-route to looking like one of the top young wide receivers in the NFL.
If the Lions could land him, it would be a big bonus for the team’s offense in 2023 and beyond.