Bengals Trade Proposal Sends WR Tee Higgins to Rebuilding Franchise

Proposed trade sends Bengals WR Tee Higgins to Patriots ahead of NFL draft.

Getty Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is still the subject of trade speculation heading into the NFL draft.

If the Cincinnati Bengals are going to trade star wide receiver Tee Higgins in 2024, it would make sense to do so either before or during the NFL draft.

Not only would Cincy be able to ask for extra 2024 draft capital as their return, but they would also be able to replace Higgins with one or two rookies, utilizing a deep wide receiver class to their advantage.

On April 8, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay suggested a hypothetical trade proposal with the New England Patriots. Below were the details of the swap.

  • Bengals get: 2024 second-round pick (No. 34 overall).
  • Patriots get: Tee Higgins & 2024 sixth-round pick (No. 214 overall).

So, for all intents and purposes, the Bengals would basically be flipping Higgins, a late-round selection and his hefty $21.816 million cap hit for a do-over four years later. After all, Cincinnati drafted the Clemson star at No. 33 overall in the 2020 draft, and they’d be getting back pick No. 34 in return.

Patriots Are Well-Positioned to Trade for Tee Higgins at WR, While Bengals ‘Might Not Find a Better Offer’

During the article with Bleacher Report, Kay went on to discuss this trade fit for both teams.

“The New England Patriots appear poised to start the Jerod Mayo era off by selecting a quarterback early in the 2024 draft,” the analyst reasoned. “If they do so, it will be imperative to augment their young signal-caller with high quality pass-catchers.”

Continuing: “The Pats would be hard-pressed to find a better option on the trade market than Higgins. He’s still young enough to develop alongside their rookie quarterback for the foreseeable future, but he already has enough experience to provide veteran savvy and leadership both on the field and in the locker room.”

New England also has the cap space to make this deal work at $53 million-plus according to Over the Cap.

As for the Bengals, Kay voiced that “they might not find a better offer than New England’s second rounder.”

“Although several other standout receivers have recently fetched first-round returns—including the Tennessee Titans netting the No. 18 overall pick for A.J. Brown during the 2022 draft—Higgins’ lack of accolades and impending contract extension hinder his value,” the writer explained. “Brown had already made a Pro Bowl and still had a year left on his rookie deal when the Titans shipped him to the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Overall, Kay concluded that this trade would “fill one of the biggest holes on the Patriots roster” with a foundational piece and “also benefit” the Bengals if they turn the pick into an “impact rookie” at No. 34 overall. A true win-win if Cincinnati decides to sell Higgins.

Tee Higgins Called ‘Most Overpaid’ Player on Bengals Roster

Speaking of shedding Higgins’ salary, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon argued that the wideout is the “most overpaid” player on the Bengals roster on April 10.

“That $21.8 million franchise-tag rate is silly for a player who has never gone over 75 catches, 1,100 yards or seven touchdowns in four non-Pro Bowl campaigns,” the analyst stated.

The question is, do the Bengals agree?

Flush with cap space in 2024, Cincinnati can get away with overpaying Higgins for one more year — and they might, considering they are still a major Super Bowl contender with him on the roster.

The risk of keeping Higgins is that he walks in 2025, and you end up getting nothing but a comp pick in return. Basically, it’s a championship gamble.

Keeping the playmaker sends a message that you are all-in on the 2024 campaign, while trading him gives the organization their best chance at sustained success over the next five or so years.

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