Latest development with Tee Higgins means door is not closed for Patriots

Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

After the conclusion of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Patriots were believed to be out of making any significant trades for a wide receiver before the start of the season. They drafted two receiver, Ja'Lynn Polk in the second round and Javon Baker in the third, seemingly ending any conversation about adding more talent to the roster through free agency.

While that may still be the case, Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf had shared they were looking to make a big trade for a receiver before the draft despite likely knowing they wanted to double-dip at the position.

So if that desire remains, they appear to have gotten another sign to pursue a trade or at least inquire about Tee Higgins.

Tee Higgins and the Bengals continue to be in a standoff

The Patriots have been connected to the Cincinnati receiver since the 2023 offseason, with most rumors suggesting the Bengals were not interested in keeping him long-term. That looked to be proven accurate when free agency began earlier this year, as they placed the franchise tag on Higgins and still have not worked out an extension.

That has led to him requesting a trade twice, with the second time being the week of the draft, to which the Bengals have not responded.

Higgins revealed that contract negotiations still haven't taken place, and despite his desire to remain with the team, it doesn't look like they have any intention of keeping him around beyond the 2024 season.

It's gotten to the point where some argue that players should have more say in these situations because it's looking like the Bengals are holding Higgins hostage. If they truly don't want to sign him to an extension, he should have the right to explore his options. Unfortunately for Higgins, that's not allowed at this point, but he is using the power he does have to make his stance known.

While many teams' OTAs began on Monday, the Bengals won't until next week. Adam Schefter revealed that the receiver has still not signed the franchise tag tender, which makes him ineligible to attend the voluntary practices.

Many players have done this in the past, hoping that holding out on signing the tender will motivate the team to get an extension done. Sometimes, it's worked, but other times, it hasn't, and by the looks of it, the Bengals don't look like they'll be swayed in the direction Higgins hopes.

Because of that, it's the perfect opportunity for the Patriots to make the call if they still want to add more talent to their receiving corps. It's clear the only way they'll be able to do that before the season begins is through a trade, and Higgins is one of the only remaining viable candidates worthy of making a trade for.

New England has plenty of cap space to accommodate him this year and next to get a contract extension done immediately, and based on the projected value for Higgins through a trade this year, they could throw in a second or third-round pick to acquire him. That seems like a win/win.

At this point, it seems like it'll come down to whether or not the Patriots want to make the trade. The Bengals don't appear to be in a hurry to keep Higgins on the roster, so there's no better time than now.

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