The Cleveland Browns are reportedly working to extend Rashard Higgins
Higgins is not a burner, albeit he is a good route runner and has such reliable hands.
Now, Higgins is not a player whose baseline receiving statistics are really going to wow you, by any stretch, as he’s been active in 10 games (out of 12 for Cleveland), in which he’s had 25 receptions for 400 yards. But when the opportunities have come through the air for him, he’s delivered for Baker Mayfield.
Somewhat along those lines, it’s a plus to have learned on Wednesday that the Browns are reportedly working to extend Higgins, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson. Anderson said her understanding is that “preliminary discussions have already begun” between the two sides.
The Browns working to extend Higgins is good for Mayfield, too
Higgins, who previously signed a one-year, $910,000 deal with Cleveland this past offseason, has a great rapport with Mayfield, as DPD’s Nick Pedone alluded to. When Mayfield/the Browns need to get it going/move the chains, Higgins, although his target-share hasn’t been a ton, he and Mayfield have typically been on the same page.
That was recently demonstrated by Pro Football Focus’ Cleveland Browns Twitter account, too, as according to PFF, Higgins’ “133.4 passer rating when targeted ranks 7th in the NFL” among qualifying wide receivers.
Last season, Higgins was initially dealing with a knee injury, albeit he then mostly seemed to be in prior Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens’ dog house; it was strange.
Higgins in 2019 was only active in 10 games, but had just four receptions for 55 yards, to go with a touchdown, and had a total of 11 targets. In Weeks 3 and then 4 of 2020, Higgins was inactive, too.
From there, though, while injuries to previously KhaDarel Hodge and then, in what was a crushing blow for Cleveland, Odell Beckham Jr., seemingly opened the door more for Higgins, he’s been much more involved. Higgins again has had 25 catches for 400 yards on the season for Cleveland, and the aforementioned efficiency highlighted by PFF he’s had when targeted by Mayfield has been telling.
Moreover, the Browns working to extend Higgins is good for 6, as Higgins and Mayfield have proven to have quite the connection when Higgins has gotten his chances. One can imagine Browns-now head coach Kevin Stefanski has seen that play out here a considerable amount as the season’s progressed, to go with Browns general manager Andrew Berry.
In 2018, in mostly what was connections with Mayfield, a then-rookie at the time, Higgins hauled in 39 catches for 572 yards, to go with four touchdowns. Overall, Higgins had a pretty nice catch rate of 73.6 percent then.
And in two of the past three contests, Mayfield has looked to Higgins in some key stretches. Versus the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11, albeit it was hardly a game where Cleveland was set to throw a bunch, given the weather, Higgins had four targets, in which he had three receptions for 65 yards.
Last week, for which Mayfield was named the FedEx Air Player of the Week (as h/t the Browns), and first half, most notably, at the Tennessee Titans, he connected with Higgins six times, which registered 95 yards and a score. For reference, Mayfield had 334 yards, four passing TDs, and a stupendous passer rating of 147.0 in that W.
So, anyway, it’s good to know for Mayfield that Higgins could seemingly be around long-term, given the reported preliminary extension talks. We’ll have to see as far as the potential numbers/what plays out from there regarding the cap for the squad, though.
But more Hollywood red carpet celly’s and Mayfield “camera work” could very well be in the cards for the Orange and Brown it appears.