NFL Rumors: Grading likelihood of a Tee Higgins trade to 3 dark horse Bengals rivals

As the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers grow stronger at the start of NFL free agency, they Bengals were hit with some terrible news.

Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Tee Higgins requested a trade on Monday morning, as the Cincinnati Bengals placed the franchise tag on their star wide receiver. However, Higgins is in search of a long-term contract, which may not come in Cincinnati.

Higgins, alongside Ja'Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd, created one of the best wide receiver trios in football. However, Boyd and Higgins could soon be gone, leaving Joe Burrow's favorite target in need of another leading man.

There are plenty of teams that could use Higgins talents to their advantage and pay him WR1 money in the process. The Giants, Patriots, Titans, Falcons and Panthers come to mind. However, the Bengals should also expect to get some unwelcome calls from rivals interested in a major upgrade at the right price.

3. Baltimore Ravens could use some wide receiver help

The Ravens are set to lose Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason via free agency unless they pony up, but why settle for less? Higgins would arguably be a better fit in Baltimore, teaming up with Lamar Jackson and haunting the Bengals for years to come. Needless to say, but the Bengals should avoid trading Higgins within their division, even if they increase the asking price as a result.

Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman are solid enough, but neither is a true WR1, while Higgins could be. Still, the likelihood of this deal going through is not high assuming the Ravens don't offer a first-round pick and then some.

Grading the likelihood: 1/10

Jaylen Watson, Tee Higgins
AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

2. Kansas City Chiefs are seeking a partner for Rashee Rice

The Kansas City Chiefs can and should try to upgrade their receiving corps, but it likely will not come in the form of Higgins. The Bengals and Chiefs remain bitter rivals, and despite the injury to Joe Burrow the teams should meet up in the AFC Postseason in the near future. Providing Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes with even more ammo to defeat Cincinnati is not on their bucket list.

It doesn't help that the Chiefs cannot afford an extension for Higgins without restructuring contracts across the board. Kansas City just signed Chris Jones to a record deal.

If the Bengals do give in to Higgins trade demands, it will be to a team that cannot hurt them in the near future. The Chiefs are not that, which is why a trade is unlikely at best.

Grading the likelihood: 3/10

Tee Higgins
Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots / Nick Grace/GettyImages

1. New England Patriots are the most likely Bengals rival to be in on Tee Higgins

The New England Patriots competitive window slammed shut long ago, which makes them the most likely Bengals 'rival' to be in on a player like Higgins. Even with Kendrick Bourne in tow thanks to a new deal, Higgins would revolutionize the Patriots receiving corps for whoever their next quarterback is. That answer could come through the draft, as New England traded Mac Jones to the Jaguars on Sunday.

Higgins could earn WR1 money in New England, as they have freed up plenty of cap space. The Patriots defense is still competitive enough to win some games, but Higgins would have time to develop with a young quarterback should Jerod Mayo and Co. choose to build through April's draft.

Grading the likelihood: 6/10

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