New England Patriots

Tee Higgins reportedly requests trade; Should Patriots pursue Bengals WR?

An uber-talented wideout could be hitting the trade market.

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The New England Patriots really need a No. 1 wide receiver, and another player who could fill that role might now be available on the trade market.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins has requested a trade, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. The legal tampering period of NFL free agency begins Monday at noon ET.

Just because Higgins wants out of Cincinnati, it doesn't mean the Bengals have to move him. He's under contract for next season after having the franchise tag placed on him earlier this month.

Higgins has been a very good No. 2 wideout on the Bengals behind Ja'Marr Chase. He tallied 42 receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games last season. Higgins posted back-to-back seasons of at least 74 catches, 1,000 yards and six touchdowns in 2021 and 2022.

If Higgins had reached the free agent market, he would have been the top wide receiver available. He is four years younger, three inches taller and stronger physically than Calvin Ridley, who is currently the top wideout on the free agent market.

The Patriots have more than $82 million in salary cap space after reportedly re-signing wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. They have assets to use in a potential trade for Higgins, including the second overall pick in the second round (No. 34 overall) of the 2024 NFL Draft, plus a high third-round pick.

If the Patriots plan on drafting a quarterback in the first round next month, they must do everything possible to surround him with enough talent at the skill positions. They didn't do that for Mac Jones and we all saw what unfolded as a result. They can't make the same mistake this time around, and trading for Higgins would be a positive step forward in that regard.

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