Could the Cincinnati Bengals and wide receiver Tee Higgins be headed for a divorce? If so, there are plenty of teams around the NFL, including the Carolina Panthers who would have interest in a trade.
Earlier this month, Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Higgins and Bengals were “not close” on a contract extension and that Higgins is not believed to be in the team’s future plans. The fact that Higgins went without a catch in Week 1 and that Cincinnati has gotten off to an 0-2 start has certainly not quieted the speculation that Higgins could be on his way out.
Well, how about the Panthers as a landing spot?
Rookie quarterback Bryce Young could certainly use some help, as the Panthers aren’t exactly loaded at wide out. Their receiving corps consists of veterans Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, plus youngsters such as Jonathan Mingo and Terrace Marshall Jr. That group isn’t exactly scaring opposing secondaries.
But adding Higgins into the mix could change things.
The Panthers could put together a package of a future second-round draft pick coupled with a future fourth-rounder to entice the Bengals into potentially swinging a trade.
While Cincy can always apply a franchise tag to Higgins to keep him on board for another season, Conway states that it doesn’t appear too likely at the moment. If the Bengals’ disappointing start continues, they may just end up looking to move the 24-year-old prior to the trade deadline.
Tee Higgins, a Clemson product, was selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He put together an impressive rookie campaign, posting 67 receptions for 908 yards and six touchdowns. Higgins then logged back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and 2022 in a receiving group that also included Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd.
Given that the Bengals already have a fairly crowded group at wide out, moving Higgins for some draft picks would provide them with some more flexibility to fill other holes. Meanwhile, it would give the Panthers a No. 1 receiver, something Young could desperately use to make his transition from the college ranks to the NFL considerably smoother.