NFL Rumors: 5 Tee Higgins trades still on the table after Bengals tag WR

The Cincinnati Bengals could trade Tee Higgins after franchise tagging the star wideout.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
1 of 5

The Cincinnati Bengals will place the franchise tag on WR Tee Higgins, which comes in at $21.8 million. That could make the talented 25-year-old a trade candidate, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

It's rather simple logic. Next year's franchise tag would cost the Bengals $26.2 million, which sets the baseline for Higgins' demands on a long-term contract. The Bengals also have to consider the looming free agency of JaMarr Chase. Factor in Joe Burrow's historic contract, which pays well north of $40 million annually through at least the 2027 season, and Cincinnati's budget starts to get tight.

While the Bengals would surely love to keep Higgins around, money is an unavoidable factor in these decisions. It's possible, maybe even likely that Higgins gets dealt for draft capital so the Bengals can reset the financial clock, so to speak.

If Higgins does end up on the chopping block, teams will line up for a chance to land the Clemson product. Injuries were a persistant problem for Higgins and the Bengals last season. He only managed 12 appearances, reeling in 42 receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns. Higgins put together consecutive 1,000-yard seasons before that, however, and he was close (908 yards) as a rookie in 2020. The Bengals could demand as much as a first-round pick in return for their excellent WR2.

Here are the most logical destinations.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars


The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to lose Calvin Ridley to free agency. The Trevor Lawrence experience has been dicey at times, but the former No. 1 pick is plainly gifted. It's on the Jacksonville front office to put the right talent around him. Why not his favorite Clemson running mate in Tee Higgins?

That built-in chemistry could go a long way toward elevating the Jaguars' offense to the next level. Higgins is on breakout watch if he lands WR1 billing with a new team. He won't have the Joe Burrow boost, but Lawrence can sling it plenty. The Jags are in a good place talent-wise. Zay Jones and Christian Kirk are solid complementary wideouts, assuming they stick around. Travis Etienne is one of the best RBs in the sport. Higgins can complete the puzzle as Jacksonville's workhorse WR. Ridley was a welcome presence in his return to action, but Higgins is a step up.

Last season ended with bitter disappointment for Jacksonville. After leading the field in the AFC South practically all season, the Jags lost their postseason spot to Houston in the final week. Doug Pederson is a great head coach, but the Jags are clearly a piece (at least) away from actual contention. A 9-8 finish, compounded by a must-win loss to the Titans in Week 18, is not good enough.

This is a great landing spot for Higgins. He gets to re-team with Lawrence on a top-15 offense. The Jags would need to put other resources into improving the defense, but planting Higgins in Ridley's former spot ensures that the offense can take a step forward — not a step back — as the divisional competition heats up. Houston and Indianapolis are not getting worse, so the Jags need to progress.