Should the Falcons explore a trade for Tee Higgins?

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In a story today from the Athletic, Paul Dehner Jr. explored the possibility of the Bengals trading Tee Higgins:

The key word is “could” here. Yes, this is just a thinkpiece, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. The Bengals have a lot of tough decisions to make, and it’s clear that Ja’Marr Chase is the lead dawg in that wide receiver room. Enter the Falcons.

Higgins is not a free agent. His contract dictates he reports and plays for the last year of his deal, worth $4 million, but conversations need to be had about a long-term contract. 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. A.J. Brown was dealt in Tennessee to Philadelphia for picks 18 and 101 last year. The first-round pick turned into receiver Treylon BurksMinnesota traded Stefon Diggs to Buffalo for the No. 22 pick, which turned into Justin Jefferson. Both veteran receivers promptly were given large extensions by the acquiring teams. There are other examples, but you get the point.

The Bengals can also choose to bank on Higgins reporting this year and playing, then deal with extensions and franchise tags (or potential tag and trade) in 2024. The parallels to the Bates situation are almost too many to believe. Maybe Burrow takes less and says give that money to Higgins so the weapons stay together. Many options exist and the Bengals will have to sort through all of them.

Outside of Drake London, Atlanta has next to nothing at the wide receiver position. This free agent class isn’t very inspiring, but there are some decent options in the draft. Higgins would have to sign an extension, but we’ve seen this formula work in the past. The teams trading the receivers have gotten mixed results, but Stefon Diggs and AJ Brown both have made huge differences for their teams. Additionally, the Falcons would be giving up a higher pick than both of those teams did, assuming it’s a first rounder. I don’t know if the price would be that high, because as good as Higgins is, it’s questionable if he’s of the caliber of those guys. You also have to consider the Bengals are trying to win right now, and they may not want to punt in the position they are in.

I don’t think it’s a ridiculous notion, and if he’s available in 2024, I think the Falcons should have Higgins at the top of their board in free agency. If Atlanta is serious about truly transforming their offense, a trade for Higgins is worth exploring if he becomes available.

 

Photographer: William Purnell/Icon Sportswire

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