Bengals GM's cryptic comment on star free agent should have Jerry Jones' full attention

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a crossroads. While some franchise pillars could depart after next season, there's no reason to blow it up after 2024. That said, most fans would tolerate a reset year if the team does everything in its power to win a Super Bowl.

That will require abandoning long-standing traditions, like plugging roster holes that handicap the team through the draft. It's time for Jerry Jones to open his wallet and splurge some cash in free agency. And if the right trade presents itself, then by all means wheel and deal.

In terms of positions that need upgrading, the WR room should be a point of emphasis. Brandin Cooks was a fine WR2 this season, but his 657 receiving yards were fewer than what he mustered last year in a worse Texans offense and in three fewer games.

CeeDee Lamb is a proven superstar, but he needs a true sidekick. Well, Tee Higgins' future in Cincinnati is as murky as ever after Bengals de facto general manager Duke Tobin made a cryptic comment to reporters about whether Higgins will get re-signed.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should keep tabs on Tee Higgins situation with the Bengals

"We'll see what happens this year. I want Tee Higgins back. Everyone on our team would like to have Tee Higgins back. Again, there's one pie and how big of a slice that takes and what else we can't do because of it, we'll have to determine and we'll see."

It's time for Jerry Jones to put his money where his mouth his. He told reporters on Tuesday the Cowboys will be "all-in" this offseason. The owner even explained a need to disrupt in unfamiliar areas like free agency. Upgrading at linebacker and offensive line is a necessity, but going out and signing Higgins would qualify as an all-in move.

The Bengals would love to keep Higgins, but they just gave Burrow a mammoth extension and have to save money for a Ja'Marr Chase extension. They also gave LB Logan Wilson a four-year $37.25 million deal in August, which leaves Higgins as the only standout from the Bengals' 2020 draft class without a contract.

Assuming a long-term extension is out of the equation, Cincinnati has three remaining options: franchise tag Higgins for $22 million, tag-and-trade him to a team that's willing to give him a big-money deal, or let him walk for nothing. Anything is possible, but Tobin's cryptic quote sets the stage for a messy divorce.

It's become clear Dak Prescott can't carry the Cowboys to a Super Bowl. An improved running game will help A LOT, but adding another high-level wideout would move mountains. With all due respect to Cooks, Dallas would be foolish to entrust a soon-to-be 31-year-old as their WR2 entering a franchise-altering season.

This is why Jones should keep tabs on this situation.

Higgins will cost a pretty penny, but the cap is almost a myth at this point. Before missing five game this year, Higgins hauled in 212 passes for 3,028 yards and 19 touchdowns. He's as consistent as they come and would put the Cowboys offense over the top.

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