5 Tee Higgins suitors who make sense in trade for Bengals’ star receiver

When Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins was given the franchise tag in late February, many assumed this was the first step in Higgins being traded before the 2024 season began. With Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase about to be up for a massive extension and the Bengals already paying QB Joe Burrow a lot of money, someone was going to be the odd man out. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Higgins and Cincinnati haven’t discussed a long term deal since March of 2023, and now the receiver is looking to go elsewhere.

With Higgins requesting a trade, it’s worth wondering how much Higgins would return Cincinnati if he is moved. Because he’s going to be netting a monster contract after the trade is finalized, the more likely compensation is probably beginning with a late first round pick or early second round pick. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell pointed out that teams starting at around pick 25 should be in on trading for Higgins:

One thing working against Higgins and the Bengals in their quest for compensation is the depth of this wide receiver class. The 2024 class has been lauded for the potential of finding plus starters late in the first or second round, so the question becomes if teams would rather swing on a prospect that’ll be on a rookie deal, or pay $20-25 million for Higgins? I’d bet there are teams on both sides of the equation.

Speaking of, here are five teams that should be trading for Tee Higgins, starting with a couple in the AFC South.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The established connection is already there: when Higgins was at Clemson, his QB was current Jaguar QB Trevor Lawrence. With Jacksonville needing someone over 6’2 they can trust on the outside, and with Calvin Ridley beginning to hear from other teams as free agency opens, Jacksonville might be on the outside looking in for a receiver. They have a second round pick available if Ridley ends up not returning to the Jaguars, and can pair that with late round picks and a second round pick next year. I’m not sure if the Jaguars can afford to give Higgins the money he wants, but if Higgins wants a shot at winning a reunion with Lawrence is a good option. The Jags already agreed to terms with Gabe Davis, but they could use more help in the receiver room.

Houston Texans

Speaking of playing with really good quarterbacks, the Houston Texans have a QB on a rookie deal and the ability to spend a lot of money. Houston has the fifth-most cap space in the NFL, and the ability to go all in with a QB such as CJ Stroud on a rookie deal is a perfect feather in the cap. They have the money to make a move like this work, and a receiver room of Higgins, Nico Collins and Tank Dell would immediately be one of the most fun rooms in the entire league.

Tennessee Titans

Titans head coach Brian Callahan was the offensive coordinator for the Bengals since Higgins was drafted in 2020, and a reunion in Nashville could be in play. Tennessee has not a lot in that receiver room, but with the third most cap space in the NFL, they can facilitate a move like this while giving Higgins the money that he wants.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals probably have the best case for both trading and signing Higgins among all NFL teams. With two first round picks in tow, they can sweeten the pot for the Bengals to give Cincy another first round pick in place of Higgins, then Arizona has enough cap space to make a long-term Higgins deal work. Add on top of that the potential of drafting Marvin Harrison Jr. and having Tee Higgins and you might be cooking with gas here.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers need all the help on the outside that they can get, and without a first round pick it’s going to be hard to draft one of the top tier guys. However, they do have the 33rd pick, and with that they can potentially swing for a deal with Higgins. Carolina’s cap space situation is just fine, but with new Panthers head coach Dave Canales working with Mike Evans in Tampa Bay, he could want a player similar in body type in Carolina. Bryce Young needs weapons, and Higgins might be the best one they can get with the 33rd pick.

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