Tee Higgins trade request opens door for Patriots to make a move

Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars / Courtney Culbreath/GettyImages

One of the top receivers the Patriots were expected to be seriously interested in this offseason was Bengals' Tee Higgins, who was expected to hit free agency for the first time in his career. Given his impressive production before and after the team drafted Ja'Marr Chase, he looked every bit the part of a WR1 New England has been looking for.

Unfortunately, their pursuit was halted when it was announced that Cincinnati planned on franchise tagging him last week, eliminating him from the Patriots' being allowed to speak with him. But that has since changed, according to NFL insider Adam Schefter.

It was announced on Monday morning, just hours before the legal tampering period opens at noon Eastern, that Higgins has requested a trade from the Bengals. It was reported that he made the request after extension talks had not been had over the past year, making him feel he is not a priority for the team to retain.

This immediately put Higgins back on Jerod Mayo's radar, especially since Higgins is a young player with a lot of potential to be their top receiver. He proved he could be that during the year before Chase was drafted and would immediately become the Patriots' best offensive weapon for their developing offense.

The problem is that this could just be a ploy by Higgins to let the Bengals know he wants to be paid and is using the trade request as somewhat of a bargaining chip to force their hand. If that's the case, the Patriots would be wasting their time trying to acquire him.

It would be expensive, potentially a first—or second-rounder, and because this year's receiver class is said to be deep, they may choose to forgo trading for a guy like Higgins and rely on the draft instead. But this is now a possibility that they should definitely monitor, as he has been on the Patriots' radar for the last two seasons.

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