Perfect Patriots Wide Receiver Target Just Became Available

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

As the New England Patriots look to overhaul their offense and add playmaking threats to an underwhelming depth chart, one more potential option has emerged at the wide receiver position.

Cincinnati Bengals wideout Tee Higgins was originally considered as a Patriots target with free agency on the horizon, but the Bengals applied the franchise tag to Higgins on Feb. 26, preventing the four-year vet from hitting the open market. Higgins tender is for one-year and approximately $21.8 million. After Schefter mentioned, the 25-year-old is looking for longer-term job security than simply the one-year tag that Cincinnati placed on him, a level of long-term investment that the Bengals have apparently not yet been willing to pursue as of this point.

The Patriots would likely have to depart with some substantial draft capital in exchange for Higgins, but the offense is in a dire straits after a 2023 campaign in which they ranked towards the bottom of the league in numerous key statistical categories. Many New England fans would also probably like to cover their eyes at the next part, but trading down in the draft remains a possibility, and that additional stockpiled draft capital could be used in a hypothetical trade for Higgins.

New England's wide receiver room is in line for a significant shake-up this offseason. Late Sunday night, the team re-signed Kendrick Bourne to a three-year deal, and are reportedly shopping veteran wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker. The Patriots are also expected to be one of the top bidders for free agent Calvin Ridley.

With the anticipated arrival of a rookie quarterback through next month's NFL Draft, surrounding the young signal caller with legitimate playmaking threats will be paramount to his development. Per Doug Kyed of The Boston Herald, the new braintrust is aware of how important it will be to upgrade their weapons on offense. Regarding the wideout room, Kyed stated "The Patriots could sign multiple veterans, knowing they’re likely to follow a rookie quarterback into next season". Failing to surround a young quarterback with weapons was one of the franchise's many mistakes with soon-to-be-ex Patriot QB Mac Jones, and it would be asinine for them to repeat this same mistake, especially with the new regime calling shots.

Higgins was selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Clemson. In his four pro seasons, he has averaged 14.3 yards per reception, added 24 touchdowns, and twice eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau. Higgins posted the lowest statistical totals of his career last season, but he did miss five games. There will be no shortage of potential suitors for the young receiver: the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Commanders have all been cited as competing with the Patriots for Higgins' services.

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