Lions Urged to Acquire Disgruntled $21.8 Million WR in Proposed Trade

Dan Campbell Tee Higgins

Getty The Ringer's Benjamin Solak argued that head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions should pursue Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, who requested to be traded on March 11.

The Cincinnati Bengals placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins this offseason. However, his future appears to be in doubt, which could give the Detroit Lions an opportunity.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on March 11 that Higgins requested a trade from the Bengals.

“Bengals franchise WR Tee Higgins has requested a trade, per sources,” Schefter wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “Higgins loves Cincinnati and hoped to be with the team long term, but is disappointed that the team has not had any talks about a long-term contract extension since March 2023.

“He’s ready to move on to a new home.”

After that report, The Ringer’s Benjamin Solak left little doubt that the Lions should be interested in the Bengals receiver.

In fact, Solak proposed the Lions offering their first-round pick, which is No. 29 overall, to Cincinnati in exchange for Higgins.

“Lions should be on the phone with 29 overall in a heartbeat,” wrote Solak on X.

Higgins, who was the No. 33 overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft, has posted a pair of 1,000-yard campaigns and three 900-plus yard seasons during his four-year career.

However, in 2023, he dealt with rib and hamstring injuries, missing five games. With those ailments combined with quarterback Joe Burrow missing half the season, Higgins posted career lows with 42 catches, 656 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.

Still, the Bengals placed the franchise tag on Higgins on February 26. If he played on the tender in 2024, Higgins would make $21.82 million this upcoming season.

How WR Tee Higgins Could Fit With the Lions

The Lions won’t be an obvious landing spot for Higgins to every analyst. Detroit finished second in passing yards last season and will return three of their top four wideouts from 2023, including first-team All-Pro receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.

But the Lions could lose veteran Josh Reynolds in free agency. He posted 40 catches for 608 yards and 5 touchdowns while averaging a team-high 15.2 yards per catch.

Higgins has been a big-play receiver for most of his career. Even in 2023 when his statistics declined in most categories, Higgins had a career-best 15.6 yards per reception average.

Giving quarterback Jared Goff yet another weapon, particularly a downfield threat, will just make Detroit’s already potent passing game even more dangerous.

Will the Lions Bring Back WR Josh Reynolds?

Higgins is younger and possesses more upside than Reynolds. But that potential will be a lot more expensive.

Pro Football Focus projected Reynolds to be worth $10.5 million on a 2-year contract this offseason. If true, that means the Lions could re-sign Reynolds for half of Higgins’ value and have Reynolds for two years instead of one.

Detroit would also have to give something up to acquire Higgins whereas they could simply re-sign Reynolds.

It’s also possible the Lions make no significant upgrades to their receiving corps early in free agency — even re-sign Reynolds. Former first-round pick Jameson Williams showed growth during the second half of last season, and the Lions organization has touted him as potentially ready for a bigger role in 2024.

Williams finished fourth among Lions receivers with 354 receiving yards last season.

The Lions could move Williams into Reynolds’ No. 2 wideout role and then target a wide receiver addition in the NFL draft. If Detroit doesn’t select a receiver in the draft, they could then circle back to available free agent wideouts for depth after the draft.

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