Amidst Struggles And Uncertainty Bengals Could Trade Disgruntled WR to AFC Foe

The Cincinnati Bengals’ offseason hasn’t quite gone as planned.

It was an extension of a turbulent 2023 regular season in which the Bengals, who had advanced to the AFC Championship Game the previous two seasons, lost out on the postseason due to wrist surgery sustained by franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.

There were then the requests for trades.

One came from defensive end and NFL All-Pro Trey Hendrickson, while the most notable came from veteran wide out Tee Higgins, who made several trade requests after being awarded the franchise tag for the 2024 season.

On May 20, ESPN’s Matt Bowen listed Higgins as one of the finest NFL teams for potential trade candidates and remaining free agents. The Los Angeles Chargers, an AFC rival, were mentioned as Higgins’ ideal trade destination.

“Under new coach Jim Harbaugh, the Chargers could create both isolation matchups and open voids for Higgins to produce with a heavily schemed pass game that includes play-action elements,” Bowen said. “He has 24 career touchdowns spread across four seasons. Last year, he amassed 656 yards after surpassing 1,000 yards in back-to-back campaigns.”

Higgins is off to his worst season as a player in ’23.

Higgins’ output fell off significantly in 2023, as he recorded career lows in touchdowns (5) and receiving yards (656), as well as receptions (42). In addition, he missed a career-high six games due to hamstring and rib problems.

Tee Higgins

According to a story published in April by The Cincinnati Enquirer, Higgins was seeking a contract extension of $70 million, which would be comparable to the $71.5 million deal extension that wide receiver Michael Pittman of the Indianapolis Colts got in February 2024.

Pittman’s deal included guaranteed payments of $46 million.

In 2024, Higgins would earn $21.8 million while playing with a franchise tag.

As for the Bengals, they totally anticipate having Higgins play for them this year.

Speaking to Jay Morrison of Pro Football Network in March, Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor stated, “We’re excited for Tee to have a great year for us.” He seems to be our best shot to lead us to a Super Bowl victory. Working with Tee has been enjoyable for the past four years, and I anticipate that this year will be the same.

Chargers Are In Need of WR1 Badly

There isn’t a lot of room for improvement for Higgins’ landing site than the Chargers, where he can be WR1 right away, something he can’t do in Cincinnati with NFL All-Pro Ja’Marr Chase nearby.

In July 2023, the Chargers signed Justin Herbert to a 5-year, $262.5 million deal extension. Herbert is an exceptional young quarterback. They lack a star wide receiver, though.

The Chargers invested a first-round selection in 2023 on wide receiver Quinten Johnston, the No. 21 overall choice, but his rookie season saw him only catch 38 passes for 431 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Wide receiver Ladd McConkey of Georgia was selected by the Chargers and first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh in the second round of the 2024 NFL draft (with pick No. 34 overall), going back to the well.

“The Chargers added veteran DJ Chark Jr. and drafted rookie receiver Ladd McConkey, who has the route traits to live in the middle of the field,” Bowen wrote. And Higgins would instantly improve the Chargers’ offense as a three-level target for quarterback Justin Herbert if he is traded before the 2024 season begins. Higgins demanded a trade this offseason.

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