Rashard Higgins

Browns Officially Re-Sign Rashard Higgins

The Browns have re-signed Rashard Higgins, per a club announcement. The wide receiver will return on a one-year deal, giving him an opportunity to prove himself before trying his hand in free agency next year. 

Higgins came into the league as a fifth-round pick of the Browns and he’ll return to Cleveland for his fifth pro season. Over the past four years, he’s tallied 76 catches for 1,016 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, necessarily, but he did shine in 2018 when he finished out with 39 grabs for 572 yards and four scores.

Last year, a knee injury kept him from building on that performance, but a healthy season could put him back on the right track. Most of Baker Mayfield‘s targets will be going to the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and new addition Austin Hooper, but Higgins could benefit from the double teams against those stars.

In addition to Landry and OBJ, the Browns’ WR depth chart also features JoJo Natson and sixth-round rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones. Higgins is the longest-tenured player of the group.

In a corresponding move, the Browns have also waived defensive tackle Brandin Bryant.

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Browns To Re-Sign WR Rashard Higgins

The Browns are expected to re-sign wide receiver Rashard Higgins, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. It will be a one-year, $910K deal for the 25-year-old.

We heard back in March that Cleveland was likely to let Higgins test the open market but was interested in re-signing him if the price was right. Cabot says the Colorado State product received more lucrative offers from other clubs, but he elected to re-up with the Browns because he loves playing with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The Browns selected Higgins in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, and after setting career highs in 2018 with 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns, he appeared primed for a key role in 2019 behind star wideouts Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. Unfortunately, he battled knee injuries early in the 2019 campaign and fell out of favor with prior head coach Freddie Kitchens upon his return. He ultimately caught just four passes for 55 yards and a score.

But with a new regime in place, Higgins will presumably have a good chance to rebuild his value. He will compete with sixth-round rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones and returning pieces like Damion Ratley for playing time.

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Browns Want To Re-Sign WR Rashard Higgins

Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins will likely hit the free-agent market, but that does not mean a reunion with Cleveland is out of the question, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. In fact, Cabot adds that, per a league source, the team would still like Higgins back “‘at the right price.”

Higgins fell out of the Browns rotation this past season after a falling out with the previous coaching staff. However, now that Freddie Kitchens has been replaced by Kevin Stefanski as head coach, the new regime appears to have interest in a reunion.

A fifth-round pick in 2016, Higgins progressed into larger and larger roles in Cleveland’s offense over his first three seasons and seemed poised to be the team’s third receiver behind Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham last season.

After hauling in 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns in 2018, Higgins managed just four catches for 55 yards in all of 2019. At just 25, Higgins is not far from being a solid young prospect, but his dip in production could very well dampen his market.

Trade Notes: Falcons, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Jets, Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Bills, Packers

Teams continue to ask about Austin Hooper, whose 526 receiving yards sit 11th in the NFL entering Week 8. However, the Falcons have spurned suitors who’ve called about the emerging tight end, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Hooper is in a contract year, but the Falcons believe they have a chance to re-sign him. The Falcons, though, are the team doing the contacting regarding Vic Beasley. Atlanta is shopping its former All-Pro defensive end, who is playing out a $12.8MM fifth-year option. Pass rushers are obviously valuable, but with Beasley’s play having fallen off since that 2016 breakthrough, the return might not be what the Falcons seek.

Here is the latest from the trade market:

  • The Redskins continue to respond with hard nos when asked about Trent Williams, but Breer adds Josh Norman‘s name has been floated around. With Norman having not lived up to the $15MM-AAV contract he signed in 2016, it would be hard to imagine the Redskins getting much value for the eighth-year cornerback.
  • A cornerback performing better continues to look likelier to stay put. Chris Harris does not expect to be traded, and Troy Renck of Denver7 notes the Broncos are not as motivated to deal their four-time Pro Bowler as they were to ship out Emmanuel Sanders. A second-round pick would likely be necessary here, per Breer. Considering the Broncos’ issues finding corners as of late, dealing Harris would create a massive offseason need in Denver.
  • The Bengals are 0-7, and A.J. Green continues to come up in trade rumors. But the old-school organization isn’t budging. Mike Brown has not signed off on a firesale, Breer adds, instead preferring to provide first-year HC Zac Taylor with a foundation. That project is not going well so far, with the veteran-laden team performing poorly. Cincinnati’s potential trade chips also include franchise sack leaders Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Neither appears to be a departure candidate. Tyler Eifert is a name Breer mentions could be dealt, but the tight end obviously has a significant injury history that would limit a return.
  • As for the expensive New York corners, Janoris Jenkins has generated more interest than Trumaine Johnson. The Giants have shopped Jenkins around some, per Breer, while Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes it would require “a miracle” for a team to take Johnson’s salary off the Jets‘ payroll. Jenkins is signed through 2020, with $5.37MM remaining in 2019 salary.
  • In addition to the Saints exploring receiver additions, the Bills, Eagles and Packers are as well, Breer notes. This could heat up the Robby Anderson market, but Breer adds Browns wideout Rashard Higgins has been discussed in advance of Tuesday’s deadline. The backup is in a contract year. However, Higgins has battled knee issues and has only played in one 2019 game.
  • With Mark Andrews having outproduced Hayden Hurst, the Ravens have received calls on their 2018 top pick. As of now, however, Hurst is not believed to be available, per Breer.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/3/19

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Re-signed (ERFA): WR Marcus Kemp
  • Waived: CB Step Durham

New York Giants

New York Jets

Miami Dolphins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/8/19

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decisions:

RFAs

Second round tender:

Tendered at original-round level:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Browns To Tender Rashard Higgins

The Browns will tender restricted free agent Rashard Higgins, according to GM John Dorsey (via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer). However, Dorsey did not indicate whether the Browns will employ the first- or second-round tender to cuff the wide receiver. 

[RELATED: Teams Interested In Browns’ Duke Johnson]

The first- or second-round tender will determine what pick a team would have to give the Browns if they were sign him. The first-round tender in 2019 is worth $4.407MM and the second-round tender is worth $3.095MM. It stands to reason that the second-round tender would be enough to scare away interested teams, even though this year’s wide receiver group in both free agency and the draft is underwhelming.

Higgins caught 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games. More importantly, he developed a nice rapport with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield in the second half of the season. With Jarvis Landry entrenched in the slot, Higgins should have an opportunity to start outside next year.

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Browns’ Rashard Higgins Wants Extension

Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins could receive some significant interest on the open market this offseason, but the young wideout is making it clear he wants to stay in Cleveland. “I want to be in Cleveland, no other team. Tell (John) Dorsey, Tell Lonzo (Alonso Highsmith) to get it done”, Higgins said this week at the Super Bowl, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Dorsey, the Browns’ GM, said last week that the team had talked to Higgins’ representatives about a new contract, and it sounds like the interest is definitely mutual. Higgins is only scheduled to be a restricted free agent anyway so the Browns could match any offer he receives from another team, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll get to that point.

Higgins’ agent Michael Swensen told Kay Cabot “we’re getting there”, meaning a deal could be close. The Browns drafted Higgins in the fifth round out of Colorado State back in 2016. They cut him before the 2017 season, but quickly re-signed him. He didn’t do much as a rookie, but showed signs of progress last season before breaking out in 2018.

This past year he caught 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns in only 13 games, and showed a nice rapport with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. With Jarvis Landry entrenched in the slot, Higgins should have an opportunity to start outside next year. Higgins sounded excited to help turn around the Browns, raving about Mayfield, new coach Freddie Kitchens, and the organization in his comments to Kay Cabot. At this point it would be surprising if he’s not locked up by the time free agency rolls around in March.

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Browns Discussing Deals With Rashard Higgins, Breshad Perriman, Greg Robinson

The Browns signed former first-round picks Greg Robinson and Breshad Perriman on low-cost, one-year deals in 2018. They are interested in longer-term partnerships.

John Dorsey said (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com) discussions with both players’ representatives are ongoing, along with RFA-to-be Rashard Higgins.

Robinson said recently he wants to stay in Cleveland. The former No. 2 overall pick has not come close to living up to that draft slot but did start the final eight Browns games at left tackle, replacing rookie UDFA Desmond Harrison in the team’s first post-Joe Thomas season. Pro Football Focus graded Robinson as its No. 63 tackle (out of 80 full-time qualifiers) this season.

Sometimes you have to be a little patient with guys like that. You have to earn their trust,” Dorsey said of Robinson. “He did everything he was asked and everything we thought he would since we signed him in late June.”

Added after a dismal Ravens stay, Perriman averaged 21.3 yards per catch with the Browns. Two of his 16 receptions went for touchdowns. While Perriman’s stock is nowhere near what it was coming into the league, the oft-injured wideout played well down the stretch with Cleveland. He recorded two two-catch, 75-plus-yard games in the Browns’ final four contests. If retained, Perriman would fit in as an auxiliary weapon alongside Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway.

Although Higgins was a Sashi Brown-era investment, he may figure into Dorsey’s plans — either on a tender or longer-term pact. The former fifth-round pick enjoyed his most productive season in 2018, hauling in 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns. While Higgins was the Browns’ fourth-leading receiver, each of those figures represented career-high marks.

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Browns Unlikely To Sign Bryant, Matthews?

On Monday, the Browns learned that wide receiver Rashard Higgins will miss 2-4 weeks of action with a sprained MCL. Rishard Matthews will work out for the team today and could theoretically help to fill the void, but coach Hue Jackson says the Browns are inclined to stick with their current options.

We’ll see. I mean, I haven’t seen [GM] John [Dorsey] since I was down there earlier. But we’ll see how it unfolds. We have some good candidates here, and I like our guys that are here. So we’ll just see how it all unfolds as we go through the day,” Jackson said. “I feel like [backup receivers Rod Streater, Derrick Willies, and sixth-round rookie Damion Ratley] know our system, know exactly what we’re looking for and know how to come in and practice the way we do and understand what the opportunity would be for them, not that I wouldn’t like somebody else who could really play. But it’s just hard to find those kind of guys at this time, guys that can come in and really contribute right away just ’cause they haven’t practiced with you, don’t know the system. Guys that you have to get caught up to speed, sometimes it just doesn’t work out as well.”

Free agent receiver Dez Bryant, who was in talks with the Browns earlier this year, may face longer odds of joining the club. When asked about the ex-Cowboys star, Jackson said that he hasn’t discussed the possibility with Dorsey recently.

The Browns thinned out their receiver corps in September by trading Josh Gordon to the Patriots, but Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, and Higgins have been keeping the passing offense afloat. Even without Higgins, it sounds like the Browns are comfortable with the players they already have.

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