Last week, Bengals’ Mike Brown strongly indicated that the Bengals won’t be able to pay all of Higgins, fellow star wideout Ja’Marr Chase and franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. Ultimately, the Bengals must decide if they want to a) keep Higgins for a championship run and risk losing him for nothing in 2024 free agency or b) trade him before the 2023 deadline.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine had one trade suggestion for all 32 teams before the start of the 2023 regular season. For the New England Patriots, Ballentine floated the idea of the AFC East club trading for Cincinnati’s big-bodied receiver:
“ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Joe Burrow is expected to become the highest-paid player in the NFL at some point this offseason. Then you consider that Ja’Marr Chase will likely get a market-setting or top-of-the-market contract when his time comes and it gets harder to see the Bengals being able to fit their three offensive stars under the cap while still building a contender.
The Patriots could take advantage by offering a healthy package of draft picks. It would give them a legitimate No. 1 receiver to see if Mac Jones can prove he is a franchise quarterback.”
The Patriots haven’t had a 1,000-yard wideout since Julian Edelman exceeded the mark in 2019. A clear-cut No. 1 receiver has been greatly missed in New England during the post-Brady era, and a player like Higgins could definitely help Mac Jones rebound from a rough sophomore year.
Higgins has crossed 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons, and he had 908 as a rookie in 2020. Last season, the 24-year-old caught 74 passes for 1,029 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
New England will open their 2023 season with a home contest against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 10, while the Bengals will travel to Cleveland for a showdown with the AFC North rival Browns.
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