After the Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers underwhelmed in Week 1, the defending Super Bowl champions are a team being named in potential trades involving star wide receivers.
Take for example BetOnline’s latest odds, which have the Chiefs with the best odds (+300) to trade for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.
Higgins, 24, is in the final year of his rookie deal with the Bengals, which makes him eligible for a contract extension. But according to Kelsey Conway of The Enquirer on September 8, the two parties “are not close and never got close on a contract extension,” which means Higgins is set to play out his rookie deal and become a free agent in 2024.
Instead of letting him walk, the Bengals could look to trade Higgins prior to the October 31 deadline so they can acquire some assets in exchange for their talented pass-catcher.
Enter, the Chiefs.
What to Know About Tee Higgins
Tee Higgins was a second-round pick — 33rd overall — of the Bengals in 2020. Higgins burst onto the scene his rookie season with a 67-908-6 stat line and has been dominant since.
Higgins, despite also having All-Pro receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the same offense, has rattled off back-to-back 1,000-yard efforts over the last two seasons and tallied 13 receiving touchdowns during the same timeframe.
Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 215 pounds, Higgins profiles as a receiver who plays out wide, can run a variety of routes, and uses his big body to win at the catch point at a high rate.
Higgins is a great 1B receiver in Cincinnati’s offense. But now that quarterback Joe Burrow recently landed a $275 million extension and Ja’Marr Chase is also eligible for a new deal, the Bengals don’t seem to have enough money to pay Higgins what he’s worth.
Would Tee Higgins Fit With the Chiefs?
From a pure football standpoint, Tee Higgins would be a great fit in Kansas City’s offense. He would provide a body type and skill set that no one outside of Justyn Ross has in Kansas City’s offense (but not even Ross, who is roughly the same size as Higgins, has shown the abilities that Higgins has at the NFL level).
But where things always get tricky is when the finances come into play.
Aside from the potential compensation needed to acquire Higgins in a trade, the Chiefs would likely have to give Higgins a new deal if they traded for him. According to Spotrac’s calculated market value, Higgins is worth a four-year, $90.6 million contract, which would pay him $22.6 million annually.
As it currently stands, the defending Super Bowl champions have $1.99 million in available cap space for 2023, according to Over The Cap. That’s not a ton of room to make a star receiver fit into the mix, but it could be enough alongside a potential restructure of another player’s contract on the team to sign Higgins to a multi-year deal. Kansas City’s cap situation also gets much better after 2023, as Chris Jones will be off the books come 2024, which frees up space for Higgins in 2024 and beyond.
It’s more likely that Cincinnati keeps Higgins for the 2023 season and makes one last championship run with him before he takes to free agency in 2024. But if the season gets out of hand and the Bengals look to move Higgins before the trade deadline, the Chiefs should be in the mix to trade for him.
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