According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins could be a potential trade candidate this offseason. Higgins is going to be a free agent in 2024, which means this is the final year that the Bengals hold his rights.
Cincinnati has been well-documented as a fairly “cash-poor” NFL team, on the relative scale of football franchises, and they also have extensions for quarterback Joe Burrow and fellow receiver Ja’Marr Chase to think about in the near future. If the Bengals don’t want to commit all of that money to just their offensive passing game, could they move on from Higgins for a high draft pick? That’s the scenario Dehner presents in his offseason preview.
“If the numbers are outrageous and it’s clear the two sides won’t see eye to eye, the Bengals could go the route taken by multiple teams in recent seasons and deal the receiver for a top draft pick and start the cycle over with a rookie receiver.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve seen a move like this at receiver. Last offseason, following the market reset at the position, the Packers traded Davante Adams and drafted Christian Watson, the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill and drafted Skyy Moore and the Titans traded A.J. Brown and drafted Teylon Burks.
As Dehner notes, Higgins’ agent David Mulugheta doesn’t have the best history with the Bengals. Another one of Mulugheta’s clients, safety Jessie Bates, refused to sign his franchise tag until August of this season and played on the one-year deal in 2022 as he and the team couldn’t reach a long-term agreement. Bates is now set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason unless the Bengals use a second-straight franchise tag to keep him on the roster.
Mulugheta’s clients have been known for playing hardball. Saints receiver Michael Thomas has had his frustrations with the team, including alleging that New Orleans was leaking information to damage his reputation. Before the allegations of sexual harassment, quarterback Deshaun Watson demanded a trade from the Houston Texans back in 2021. Mulugheta also was Jalen Ramsey’s agent when the cornerback was traded from Jacksonville to Los Angeles while still on his rookie contract. For what it’s worth, the agent also represents Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love.
The Packers have been desperate at receiver since Adams was traded. Should a receiver like Higgins, a 24-year-old with 3,028 career yards under his belt, become available then the team needs to think about making a call.
With few (if any) quality receiver options available in the 2023 free agency class, Green Bay’s only chance to get better there this offseason will be through a trade and/or the draft. The receiver position was voted as the fourth-biggest need by Packers fans in our January poll.