Bengals signing Trent Brown could bode well for Patriots' pursuit of Tee Higgins

Las Vegas Raiders v Cincinnati Bengals
Las Vegas Raiders v Cincinnati Bengals / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Of all the Patriots players set to hit free agency this offseason, Trent Brown was the most obvious name and the most unlikely to return under any circumstance.

He had voiced his dissatisfaction several times throughout 2023, and despite his approval of Jerod Mayo's new title, he had no intention of remaining in New England any longer.

That was further proven as free agency went on. Despite their apparent need for a starting-caliber left tackle, the Patriots appeared to be uninterested in trying to persuade Brown to stay. This ultimately led to him a one-year contract with the Bengals, taking his inconsistent talents to a perennial Super Bowl contender.

Although it's not ideal to lose a productive player in free agency, especially one who was one of the best on the team for a period the season before, a split with left tackle was inevitable. Ironically, some good could come out of his departure.

Trent Brown's departure could yield a big gift for the Patriots

Like the Patriots' connection to taking a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming draft, the Bengals have been pegged as a team looking at selecting a top tackle after losing Jonah Williams in free agency.

Now that Brown is in the building, they could consider other positions instead, even if Brown is not exactly a long-term answer. They could prioritize taking another top talent with the 18th overall pick, like a wide receiver, and hold off on the offensive line for one more season, which would be an excellent sign for the Patriots in their pursuit of Tee Higgins.

After being franchise-tagged, the receiver has already asked for a trade, and extension talks have reportedly stalled. Cincinnati has been reluctant to even entertain trade talks with anyone, but by signing Brown, they have the chance to draft one of the best receivers of the class this year, replacing Higgins if they offloaded him to another team.

This would ensure they don't have to pay Higgins a massive contract, which was going to be difficult to do anyway with Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase's extensions and take on a great receiver from the draft on a rookie contract for the next four years.

The Patriots could probably trade a second or third-rounder for Higgins, lock up their WR1 in free agency, and allow them to hold off on the position until maybe Round 3 in this year's draft. They have the money to afford him this season, with over $50 million in cap space remaining, and are projected to have nearly $200 million next year.

So why not get the deal done now? It seems like a win/win situation for all involved.

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