Deshaun Watson is already making his recruiting pitch to Tee Higgins.
The Browns quarterback pitched the rising free-agent wideout on Cleveland this week, trying to bring in a receiving threat for next season.
“We wanna pass the ball. That’s what we’re gonna do,” Watson told quarterback trainer Quincy Avery on the “QB Unplugged” podcast. “We’re gonna pass the ball a lot.”
“We’re gonna take good care of you. The Cleveland fans are gonna love you to death. We got the Clemson ties. We ain’t get to play with each other, but this is our opportunity. So like, man, come on over to The Land.”
The one snag may be that Higgins, who posted 42 receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns for the Bengals this past season without quarterback Joe Burrow, may not hit free agency until 2025.
Cincinnati has to re-sign star wideout Ja’Marr Chase, who won’t come cheap as one of the top receivers in the league, and is likely to place a franchise tag on Higgins to control costs.
Spotrac has Higgins’ market value at $18.6 million per season – a number that could go up with Burrow back to health after his season ended prematurely due to a wrist injury.
Having to wait an extra year could also give Watson a chance to enhance his case, as he’ll be back from a broken shoulder, and running back Nick Chubb should be fully recovered from his knee injury.
Despite the massive blows to its roster, Cleveland still made the wild-card round of the playoffs at 11-6, thanks to Pro Bowl efforts from receiver Amari Cooper and tight end David Njoku.
Adding Higgins, who has two 1,000-yard seasons in four years, would only make them more of a threat in the AFC North.
Still, the 25-year-old would have to leave the franchise that selected him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and it wouldn’t be easy.
“It means a lot,” Higgins told Bleacher Report earlier this month. “Them telling me that they want me to come back, man, it’s family. We’ve been playing together for three or four years now, and I personally would love to be back playing with those guys. It’s not in my hands now, but when the time comes and Cincinnati is there, that’s the number one option right now.”