Rashard Higgins Says He Wants to Stay In Cleveland, May Be Easier Said Than Done

Pending free agent wide receiver Rashard Higgins told ESPN Cleveland's Emmett Golden he wants to stay with the Cleveland Browns.
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Cleveland Browns wide receiver and pending free agent Rashard Higgins has said he wants to stay with the Browns and re-sign another contract in a conversation with Emmett Golden of ESPN Cleveland.

“Don’t give up on me, I didn’t give up on you. Tell Andrew to send the papers and I’ll sign where I need to sign, ” was the response Higgins gave when asked about his future.

Higgins has enjoyed impressive chemistry with Baker Mayfield since Mayfield was drafted in 2018. In those three seasons, Higgins has been targeted 116 times, producing 80 receptions for 1,226 yards and 9 touchdowns in the regular season.

That's an average of 10.5 yards per target, an excellent rate.

The potential issue for Higgins and the Browns is around both role and money. Higgins led the team in receiving yards from week seven through the playoffs with 662 yards, but he only took a meaningful role in the offense after Odell Beckham tore his ACL.

Up until that point, Higgins was the fourth receiver on the depth chart. The Browns went with Beckham and Landry as the top two and while Higgins was a better receiver than their third receiver, KhaDarel Hodge. The Browns went with Hodge because he offered more speed, generating more space for the rest of the group.

When Beckham went down, they needed someone who could get open and produce, so Higgins became a bigger part of the offense. The Browns plan to add more speed this offseason. Should they keep Beckham and Landry, Higgins could find himself being the fourth option again.

As much as he likes Mayfield and the connection they have, he wants to play. The Browns will certainly offer him a deal, but he may decide it's time to take more money and a bigger role in the offense elsewhere. Higgins was good enough to be a second option in an offense. No worse than third. Maybe the market collapses and he opts to stay as he did last year, but he was productive in the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs, even if he fumbled the ball near the goal line.

This isn't a simple decision for either side and sentiment may not be enough to keep it going for another contract.