Up next in our review of the Browns’ unrestricted free agents is WR Rashard Higgins.
How and When He Joined the Browns: Higgins was a 5th round pick by the Browns in the 2016 NFL Draft, which was the same year that Andrew Berry joined Cleveland’s front office.
Productivity Level Last Season: He played in 10 games, registering career lows with just 4 catches for 55 yards and 1 touchdown. It is crazy to hear those statistics when you look at how good of a 2018 season Higgins had with Mayfield, and then the fact that Higgins caught 14 passes for 169 yards and 1 touchdown in the preseason last year.
Heck, if you go back to the Browns’ very first drive of the regular season, the first play was an incomplete pass to Higgins, followed by an 11-yard completion to him. Later in the drive, a 35-yard pass down the seam to Higgins set up an opening-drive touchdown for Cleveland.
Everything went downhill from there. Higgins suffered a knee injury, but it should have really only kept him out a month. For whatever reason, Higgins fell into Freddie Kitchens’ doghouse and barely played, or was relegated to one special teams snap a game, for the rest of the season.
Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: I still love Higgins — he is a solid, all-around receiver who runs good routes, has good hands, and knows how to get open. His 2018 campaign saw him catch 39 passes for 572 yards and 4 touchdowns. Even with the addition of Odell Beckham last year, Higgins was poised to thrive from the slot, and we were seeing it in training camp and the preseason.
The people he potentially could have fallen out of favor with — head coach Freddie Kitchens, offensive coordinator Todd Monken, and general manager John Dorsey — are all gone. Beckham and Jarvis Landry had offseason surgery, so Cleveland could use a receiver who Mayfield likes to throw with during the offseason programs and then be an asset on gameday come the regular season.
What the Browns Should Do: I would love to see the red carpet rolled out for Higgins to make a 2020 return to the Browns. Because of how things went in 2019, though, it is difficult to project what type of contract he’ll receive. It is easy for me to say that I’d like to see Higgins on a cheap 3-year, $10 million deal. However, he is only 25 years of age, and this is the right time for him to take on another 1-year, prove-it deal to try to maximize his value.
Look at Breshad Perriman with the Buccaneers — he signed a 1-year, $4 million deal with them, and after a tremendous end to the season, is going to be coveted by several teams. I’ll predict something similar for Higgins — a 1-year, $ 4 million deal, and then see how things go from there. If the Browns lose Higgins, then the receivers who Mayfield will have to throw to in camp are Damion Ratley, KhaDarel Hodge, and Taywan Taylor. That doesn’t sound too ideal.
Let us know below whether or not the team should try to re-sign Rashard Higgins.
Should the Browns re-sign WR Rashard Higgins?
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