Rashard Higgins bet on himself and returned to the Cleveland Browns this offseason when he could have signed for more money and job security elsewhere.
Higgins has capitalized on more playing time this season and the Browns are now looking to extend their longest-tenured pass-catcher, per a report from Josina Anderson.
“My understanding is preliminary discussions have already begun between the Browns and WR Rashard Higgins on a contract extension,” Anderson said on Twitter.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 9, 2020
Higgins is on pace for a career year, despite not playing in a pair of games early this season as a healthy scratch. Through 10 games played Higgins has caught 25 balls for 400 yards and a trio of touchdowns.
Higgins was drafted by the Browns in the fifth-round in 2016 out of Colorado State. This offseason he became the first wide receiver drafted by Cleveland to sign a second contract with the team since the franchise rejoined the NFL in 1999.
Rashard Higgins Bounced Back After Tough Year
Itʻs been a nice bounceback for Higgins, who struggled last season due to injuries and a broken relationship with the coaching staff. Under former head coach Freddie Kitchens, Higgins was expected to compete for the No. 3 wide receiver spot behind Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
But things went awry under Kitchens in a hurry and that role never truly played out. Down the stretch, he was routinely out-snapped by Damion Ratley and KhaDarel Hodge.
Higgins was injured in the team’s opener, missing multiple weeks with an MCL sprain. He was never able to get on track after that, finding himself in Kitchen’s doghouse after some comments to media members on why he wasn’t active in Week 5. Higgins managed just four catches for 55 yards and one touchdown all of last year.
In the year prior, Higgins had 39 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns — all career highs. He also built a strong rapport Mayfield as a security blanket of sorts, with the quarterback speaking up at times about the chemistry he had with Higgins. That has proven to be true this year as well with Higgins taking on a bigger role with Beckham being out for the year with a torn ACL.
“At the end of the day, I had to work for everything I ever got. If I had to work to get in this position, I am going to do it,” Higgins told reporters in October. “Here I am. To God give the glory. I can’t be thankful for enough. I am going to keep working, keep putting my head down, not get too big headed on myself and just keep working. The sky is the limit.”
Odell Beckham Reacts to Rashard Higgins Extension
One of the first people to react to the news was Beckham, who tweeted out support for his teammate.
Extendooo extendoooooo @CALLME_WOOD 🗣🗣🗣
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) December 9, 2020
Much like Higgins, Beckham did not live up to the wild expectations that follow him during his first year in Cleveland. He finished his first season in Cleveland with 1,035 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The numbers were not off the charts this year, but Beckham seemed content within the Browns run-heavy offense led by new head coach Kevin Stefanski. Before the injury, Beckham had 23 catches on 43 targets for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns, also adding a rushing score.
Beckham is under contract through 2023 and Landry is signed through 2022. If Higgins strikes an extension, it would assure the Browns have a nice pass-catching core going forward — that is if no trades happen.
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