Should the Bengals trade Tee Higgins to help build for the future?

Cincinnati used the franchise tag on Higgins, but he could still be moved.
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals officially designated wide receiver Tee Higgins as a franchise player. However, that doesn't mean that the team still couldn't look to trade him over the offseason.

Once Higgins signs his tender with the team, he will be eligible to be moved, and NFL insider Ari Meirov thinks that the Bengals could potentially land a future first or second round pick for the star receiver.

"If they were to consider doing that, there would be multiple suitors who would be interested in giving up a really good pick, plus give [Higgins] a contract for a 25-year old receiver who could be a No. 1 for a team," Meirov said.

So, is trading Higgins something that the Bengals should consider? Let's break it down.

Positives of potentially trading Higgins

So, the positives of a potential trade are pretty obvious. Draft capital is as good as gold in the NFL, and if there's an opportunity to land a high pick in an upcoming draft, especially for a guy whose not your top receiver, it's certainly something worth considering. Such picks could be used to build out the rest of the roster.

Plus, Higgins' long-term future in Cincinnati has to be considered. He's franchise tagged this season, but he's going to command a pretty penny when it comes time for him to sign an extension. The Bengals are ultimately going to have to extend star wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase too, and the possibility exists that they won't want to pay big money for two receivers.

In that scenario, the Bengals could look to flip Higgins this offseason in order to get some value in return for the receiver, as opposed to risking losing him to another franchise for nothing next offseason.

We see that happen in the NBA all the time, and if the Bengals don't view Higgins as a long-term piece, they should at least consider a move.

Negatives of trading Higgins

If you trade Higgins for a draft pick this offseason, it's likely that Cincinnati's offense will take a step back next season. The pick could ultimately prove to be very valuable, but it's doubtful that a player will come in next season and be as impactful as Higgins.

Also, if you trade Higgins, you make Chase's job harder. Playing alongside Higgins opens things up for Chase a bit, but if Higgins is gone, Chase is likely to command more attention from opposing defenses.

Receiver Tyler Boyd is also headed for free agency and seems unlikely to be back in Cincinnati. Do the Bengals really want to lose two of their top three receivers from last season?

Plus, they would also run the risk of angering franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, who has expressed his desire for Higgins to remain in Cincinnati.

"It's no secret, our relationship," Burrow said of Higgins last month. "I expect Tee to be back. I think that's the sentiment in the locker room. We all want Tee back. . . . We know what kind of player he is. We know what kind of person he is. He's what being a Bengal is all about."

At the end of the day, there's no easy answer here. There's both positives and negatives of a potential Higgins trade, and ultimately Cincinnati's front office will have to decide if the pros outweigh the cons, or vice versa.