Pros and cons of trading Tee Higgins for the Bengals

There's always two sides to a coin.
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

Tee Higgins has officially requested a trade away from the Cincinnati Bengals. Now, the question is if the Bengals will grant his wish. The team doesn't technically have to trade Higgins, as he's still under team control for another year as a result of being designated a franchise player.

However, a trade does seem likely, as the Bengals probably won't want to hold onto a player who doesn't want to be there. Like with most situations, there would be both pros and cons of trading Higgins for the Bengals. Here's a look at a couple of each.

Pros of trading Higgins

The pros in this situation are pretty obvious. By trading Higgins, the Bengals would avoid any potential locker room issues that could arise from keeping a malcontent receiver in the locker room. Even without Higgins, the Bengals expect to contend for a playoff spot next season, and they don't need off-field drama or distractions taking away from their on-field goals.

For what it's worth, Higgins hasn't been a problem in the locker room in the past, but you never know how a player will act if a trade request is denied, and it seems like the Bengals would want to avoid the potential pitfalls of the situation.

The other main positive of trading Higgins for the Bengals would be the return package. Higgins, 25, is arguably the best receiver available this offseason, and he's still very young. Because of that, some teams out there will probably be willing to pay a pretty penny for Higgins' services.

Cincinnati could probably end up with a return package that includes some solid draft capital that the team could use to bolster the rest of the roster, or utilize in another trade. Plus, by not paying Higgins they'll have additional salary cap space to use elsewhere.

Cons of trading Higgins

The clearest con of trading Higgins would simply be losing a player of his caliber. During his first four seasons, Higgins clearly established himself as one of the better young receivers in the entire NFL. He compiled 135 receptions, 2,448 receiving yards and 27 receiving touchdowns over his first four years, and he was a major factor in the Bengals' success when they went to consecutive AFC Championships in 2021 and 2022.

Having a ton of talent at the skill positions is never a bad thing, and it seems unlikely that the Bengals will be able to replace Higgins with a more, or similarly, skilled player. Higgins was a top target of quarterback Joe Burrow, and chemistry like that doesn't just grow on trees. Having Higgins as an offensive option definitely made Burrow's job easier.

Together, Ja'Marr Chase and Higgins formed arguably the best and most dynamic wide receiver combo in the league. Trading Higgins would effectively break that up, and in turn probably make it easier for opposing defenses to scheme for Chase.

At the end of the day, pulling the trigger on a Higgins trade won't be an easy decision for Cincinnati's front office, and one that won't be taken lightly.