Proposed trade rids Patriots of underperforming receiver for top guy they need

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Because they were strapped with so much money to spend in free agency this year, the fact the Patriots didn't go on a shopping spree disappointed many fans, especially for a wide receiver or two.

New head coach Jerod Mayo has stated the team is looking into trading for the caliber of player they need, but there is no indication they are closer to getting a deal done than when he initially revealed their motives.

With no movement on the trade front, fans and analysts have proposed plenty of trades over the last several weeks, mostly involving the same receivers: Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, and Justin Jefferson. Any of the three would be homerun acquisitions and instantly boost the offense to levels it's needed for the last handful of years.

However, the chance of any deal happening is feeling less likely.

Regardless, Matthew Davis of recently proposed a hypothetical trade that would give the Patriots one of their top trade targets while also ridding them of a player who has not lived up to his contract since signing with the team last year.

Proposed trade rids Patriots of underperforming receiver for top guy they need

In his proposed trade published this week, Davis sends JuJu Smith-Schuster and a fourth-round pick to the Bengals for Tee Higgins, who was expected to hit free agency this offseason before being franchise tagged.

He remains the most connected to the Patriots despite his recent comments claiming he expects to play for the Bengals in 2024. But Higgins had previously demanded a trade, as he was unhappy with the lack of negotiations for a contract extension, making him a prime trade target for a receiver-needy team like New England.

The Bengals shot down any rumors surrounding a possible trade, but they still haven't reached an agreement with Higgins to keep him in Cincinnati beyond this upcoming season. That could be a good sign for the Patriots if they are still interested in trading for him at some point in the near future.

As great as this all sounds, though, the idea that the Bengals would be willing to part with a productive receiver who they want to make an integral part of their offense for years to come in exchange for a beat-up Smith-Schuster who wasn't able to get acclimated with the Patriots last year feels like a pipedream.

On top of that, adding just a fourth-round pick to the deal doesn't feel like nearly enough for the type of player Higgins is and could be. He might not be worth a first- or second-round pick to most, but a third-round pick doesn't seem like too much, and Smith-Schuster wouldn't be considered either.

Of all the proposed trades discussed recently, this is one you can probably file under "never happening." It's great in theory for the Patriots, but New England would be committing highway robbery, and the Bengals would be criticized for a long time for this decision.

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