Patriots' Tee Higgins Trade Hopes Just Took a Massive Hit

The New England Patriots' hopes of trading for star wide receiver Tee Higgins have just hit a significant snag.
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are still in need of a true top wide receiver after striking out on other targets this offseason. However, the Pats' dream of landing a WR1 isn't dead yet, as Cincinnati Bengals star Tee Higgins could possibly be moved in the lead up to the draft.

New comments from Higgins, though, may have just dashed those hopes.

Higgins told local media at his youth football camp on Sunday that "I do anticipate it" when asked if he expects to be back in Cincinnati for this upcoming campaign. These comments arrive after Higgins has feuded with the Bengals -- including a reported trade request -- over his current contract situation.

Higgins' departure from Cincy was expected heading into this offseason considering the team's refusal to pay him as a top wideout. The Bengals placing the tag on Higgins only added to his frustrations and opened the door for another squad (like the Patriots) to save him from Cincinnati.

Now, though, it appears everything has changed. Higgins' confidence that he'll be back in the orange and black in 2024 indicates Bengals are doing everything they can to make him happy.

In fact, Mike Giardi of the Boston Sports Journal seemed to indicate Cincy is making keeping Higgins a priority.

All of this is terrible news for New England, considering how perfectly Higgins would fit in. The 6-foot-4 Clemson alum is an elite playmaker who consistently records big gains (career 14.3 yards per reception) and makes contested catches with ease.

A big-bodied WR who's both a red zone weapon and field-stretcher is the exact kind of talent that'd immediately elevate the Patriots' offense. His presence would also make things easier for his fellow wideouts, making this entire corps stronger.

That's not even to mention the Pats are expected to select a rookie signal-caller with the No. 3 pick, and Higgins' skills make him an ideal top target for an inexperienced quarterback to lean on.

Assuming Higgins and the Bengals sort out their differences, that would make another high-profile WR New England missed out on this offseason. With their options dwindling, the Patriots may need to go all-in on Bradon Aiyuk to solve their WR problem.

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