Higgins officially re-signed with the Browns on Friday. The fifth-year receiver agreed to rejoin the Browns in late April and now the ink is dry and the deal is official. Higgins has a chance to be Cleveland's No. 3 receiver in 2019 after the club passed on spending significant resources on the position in free agency or the draft. That said, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry are powerful draws for targets, and the club added tight end Austin Hooper to bolster the intermediate passing game.
Higgins signed a one-year contract with the Browns on Tuesday, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. A market never materialized for the unrestricted free agent during the offseason, prompting the two to link up following the 2020 NFL Draft, which saw the Browns draft just one wide receiver -- Donovan Peoples-Jones -- in the sixth round. After a 2018 campaign in which Higgins caught nearly 40 passes and accumulated 572 receiving yards, last season was a dreadful setback as the fourth-year wideout tallied just four passes for 55 yards while seeing the fewest offensive snaps of his career. There's no guarantee Higgins will make the final roster come the fall, but in an uncertain offseason training period with few, if any, in-person practices, it makes sense for the Browns to add a known commodity in the 25-year-old, even if it's just for additional depth.
Higgins (coach's decision) is inactive Week 17 against Cincinnati. Higgins at least took the field in each of the last three weeks, but he has yet to see an offensive snap since Week 13 against Pittsburgh. It's been a disappointing season coming off a year in which he recorded 39 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns (all career highs), but an early-season injury coupled with the addition of Odell Beckham simply proved too much to overcome. Set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, it's unclear what the future might hold for the 25-year-old receiver.
Higgins saw one snap on special teams and zero on offense in Sunday's 38-24 loss to the Cardinals. This was the second straight week that Higgins did not get on the field for an offensive snap. The free agent-to-be is buried in coach Freddie Kitchens' doghouse, and, barring an injury, there's little hope he'll find his way out over the last two games.
Coach Freddie Kitchens gave no assurances that Higgins' playing time would increase Sunday in Arizona after the wideout didn't log an offensive snap in the Week 14 win over the Bengals, Nate Ulrich and Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal report. "Everything we're looking for. He knows. We know," Kitchens said, when asked what Higgins needs to do to play more. In the middle of the season, Higgins reclaimed his spot as the Browns' third wide receiver following a multi-week absence due to a sprained MCL in his knee, so it was surprisingly that he was excluded from the game plan entirely in Week 14. Prior reports have indicated that Higgins and Kitchens clashed about whether the wideout was healthy enough to return earlier in the season, but it's unclear if that earlier discord had anything to do with Higgins' absence on offense against the Bengals. In any case, Higgins doesn't appear to be a lock to reclaim a regular role in three-receiver formations in Arizona this weekend. Damion Ratley and KhaDarel Hodge look like better bets to see snaps alongside Jarvis Landry (hip) and Odell Beckham (groin).
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|8||11/01||Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|15||12/20||@New York Giants||29||26.00|
|16||12/27||@New York Jets||25||23.50|
|3 Year Avg||39||23||313||2||14||13.61||41|