4. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
With the notion the Bengals can’t (or won’t, given owner Mike Brown’s history of penny-pinching) pay everybody, with Joe Burrow and JaMarr Chase in line for big new contracts, Higgins surfaced as an easy trade candidate this offseason–Pro Football Focus even had a proposal sending him to the Lions.
Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin vehemently tried to put to bed the idea Higgins was available.
"If they want a receiver, go find your own,” Tobin said Tuesday. “In my opinion, Tee Higgins is a good piece for the Cincinnati Bengals. The trade stuff is a little ridiculous right now.”"
The next time a team executive says, verbatim or effectively, “yep, we’re open to (or trying to) trade that guy” it will be the first. Phrases like “no intention” have been used, only for a deal to then be done (h/t to former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman).
Higgins has topped 1,000-yards in back-to-back seasons, with at least 900 yards and six touchdowns in all three seasons of his career. A contract extension is not necessarily urgent business for the Bengals, with the franchise tag in their pocket for 2024.
Higgins is being the good soldier, showing up for voluntary work this offseason. He’s not likely to go any kind of public if he’s not happy with his situation.
But would the Lions offer their 2024 first-round pick and a later pick for a 24-year old wide receiver who may be a No. 1-caliber wide receiver without the role currently? The Bengals probably couldn’t turn that down.