Patriots Again Tabbed as Top Trade Spot for ‘Top Weapon’ Bengals Star

Patriots potential trade target Tee Higgins

Getty Patriots potential trade target Tee Higgins

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The Patriots need a wide receiver, badly. Not just one of the nice secondary pieces they’ve picked up in recent days. They need a full-on star WR1, a guy who can make a Pro Bowl and can make new franchise quarterback Drake Maye look good in the process. And there could—could is the operative word—be some of those types coming on trade market soon, even as the NFL draft has come and gone.

That’s because there are still players waiting to figure out exactly how the wide-receiver market is going to be set. We got a glimpse of it in the $30 million per year that was given to Lions star Amon-Ra St. Brown, but the skyrocketing numbers won’t stop there, not as Cowboys star CeeDee Lamb, Vikings star Justin Jefferson, the 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk and Bengals star Ja’Marr Chase join the feeding frenzy.

A guy who remains in that shuffle: Chase’s disgruntled teammate Tee Higgins, who is locked up on a franchise tag contract and is not happy about it. He wants a considerable raise over the $21.8 million he is scheduled to earn next year. And for the umpteenth time this offseason, the Patriots find themselves linked to a Higgins trade, this time by Bleacher Report.

Tee Higgins On or Off the Trade Block?

Higgins has, at times, sounded resigned to being back with the Bengals on that deal in 2024, but last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Higgins was renewing his trade request from the team, since there has been no progress on a new contract.

That’s where the Patriots can come in and put Higgins in the spotlight. The Pats have $50 million in cap space and need to spend a significant portion of it to get to the payroll floor for next year. They could bring Higgins’ payday near the $30 million per year mark, and easily afford it with their cap situation.

At just 25 years old, Higgins would be worth it. He struggled with injuries in 2023, but still averaged 15.6 yards per reception when healthy, in 12 games.

B/R’s Zach Bachar calls Higgins one of “Joe Burrow’s top weapons.” He also tabbed the Patriots as the top “landing spot” for Higgins in a trade. He wrote of the Pats situation:

“New England selected its future franchise quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick, adding former North Carolina signal-caller Drake Maye.

“While the Patriots drafted wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk in the second round as well as wideout Javon Baker in the fourth round, they don’t have an established receiver such as Higgins on the roster heading into the 2024 season.

“With Maye on a rookie contract, New England could continue to build around him by acquiring the Bengals’ standout receiver.”

Patriots Still Looking for WR1

Give the Patriots some credit—they have tried to beef up their receiver room, an issue that the team had no choice but to address after a terrible 2023. They nearly landed Calvin Ridley from Jacksonville but were outbid at the 11th hour by the Titans.

Instead, the Pats brought back last year’s top receiver Kendrick Bourne and added slot receiver K.J. Osborn from Minnesota. They drafted Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk in Round 2 of the draft, then added UCF’s Javon Baker in Round 4.

Hard to say how any of the new options will pan out, but it’s a very long shot that any will prove to be the true No. 1 the Patriots need. Higgins, though, would fill that role-and probably do it quite well.




Read More