Where Will Higgins Land?
By: Euan Leith
Higgins was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Colorado State. After playing out his four-year rookie deal, the 26-year old re-signed with the Cleveland Browns for the 2020 season as a bet on himself type of deal.
These things have a funny way of working out, and the chips fell in Higgins’ favor. His teammate, Odell Beckham Jr., suffered a season-ending injury in Week 7, and it opened the door for the receiver to post a career year. He started the final five games of the season and showed exactly what he could do when he gets his chance.
That 16-game pace shown above would blow away Higgins’ career highs in every category. Now, he’s got some recent tape to show the other 31 teams in the league exactly what he can do on the gridiron. So let’s see what teams could be in a market for a player of Higgins’ caliber.
Higgins joining another AFC North team is high on my list of possibilities. The current wide receivers on the Ravens roster caught 34 touchdowns from Lamar Jackson over the last two seasons, which only equals 53.1 percent of the team’s passing touchdowns. Baltimore isn’t turning into a college spread offense any time soon, but that number needs to trend in an upwards direction.
In a recent mailbag on baltimoreravens.com, Ryan Mink & Garrett Downing answered the fan’s question about the team’s passing offense.
I’m confident the Ravens will add a wideout or two this offseason. They could do it via free agency (there will be Tier-2 wide receivers released under a tightening salary cap)Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com
Is Higgins a Tier-2 wide receiver? Maybe not, but he’s definitely towards the top of the next tier. The 26-year old only made $910,000 in 2020, and if a team like the Ravens came along and offered a fair deal, it would be tough to pass on a chance to play with an electric playmaker like Lamar Jackson.
Ryan Tannehill showed the NFL world that 2019 was not a fluke and had another elite season at the quarterback position. It allowed stud receiver A.J. Brown to have an incredible season, but it also provided a career-best season for Corey Davis.
Davis will likely leave in free agency with a lot of teams looking for receiver help. With the Titans up against the cap before cuts and contract restructuring, they should be in the market for a Davis replacement at an affordable cost. Higgins can be a perfect running mate for Brown and Tannehill in 2021.
He doesn’t have the electric speed or playmaking abilities, but he uses the opportunities thrown his way to produce great results. The sixth-year receiver has caught at least 71 percent of his passes in two of the last three seasons. His sure-handedness would be a welcome sight in Nashville.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. After re-signing with Cleveland and coming through for the squad when OBJ went down, there’s a chance loyalty comes into play for the free agent.
Higgins returned to the Browns in 2020 under a new Head Coach, and it worked out for both sides. Cleveland won’t be able to snag him for the veteran minimum again, but preliminary contract negotiations were reported in early December. Nothing came of those talks, but that doesn’t mean the teams don’t want to reunite for the foreseeable future.
Higgins is extremely popular in the locker room and with the fan base. He is a constant for the franchise as they continue to build around Baker Mayfield at quarterback. A reunion isn’t the exciting option in free agency, but sometimes it makes sense for both sides.