Rashard Higgins had options.
The veteran wide receiver tested the market during the first few days of free agency and fielded a handful of offers that would have taken him elsewhere. No matter the price, though, Higgins couldn't get what he would have with another season — his sixth — in Cleveland.
Ultimately, that's why it was a "no-brainer" to re-sign with the only team he's ever played for.
"I knew where I wanted to be, let's say that," Higgins said Friday in his first interview since re-signing with the Browns. "I knew where I wanted to be and obviously there were a lot of teams hitting on me and I had decisions. Why not be a Cleveland Brown?
"I feel like all of the pieces to the puzzle are in place. Why not? We just made a historic run, something that hasn't been done in 20 years."
Higgins, of course, was a central part of a season Browns fans won't soon forget.
Higgins re-signed with the Browns in early May of last year and fought to earn a spot on the team's 53-man roster. Higgins didn't see the field much and was a healthy scratch on occasion during the first part of the 2020 season but drew regular praise from coaches and teammates for his attitude, effort and preparedness. When injuries began to hit Browns wide receivers, including Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr., Higgins took on a starting role midway through the year and finished the season as one of the team's most productive pass-catchers.
Higgins, one of just three players on Cleveland's roster who has been with the team since 2016, caught 37 passes for a career-high 599 yards and four touchdowns. He caught six passes in three separate games and posted the first 100-yard game of his career in the Browns' Week 7 win in Cincinnati. He added seven catches for 116 yards in the playoffs, 88 of which coming in the Browns' AFC Divisional Round loss to the Chiefs.
Understandably, that kind of season caught the eye of some other teams around the league that were interested in Higgins' precise route running and knack to catch most everything that comes his way. That left him with a decision to make, but it was a relatively easy one.
"Going to another team, how does that really benefit me?" Higgins said. "Then, you start over with a whole other quarterback, then you start over with a whole new playbook. It's just like, what in another team would you be looking for? We just made a playoff run. We have everything I need here with the Cleveland Browns. Why not?"
Higgins' role in the team's success hasn't been lost on Browns' fans, who came out in droves to wish him success in free agency and, subsequently, celebrate the news of his re-signing. The player known simply as "Hollywood" to many has endeared himself to countless fans, and he let them know Friday the feeling is mutual.
Higgins said he heard from Browns fans all over the world — literally — as he went through the process.
"It's unbelievable," Higgins said. "To say Cleveland is not the best fan base in America, I don't know if there is a better fan base. Weighing my decision, did the fans have an impact on it? I can say yeah. Obviously, I love our fans and they love me.
"At the end of the day, this is somewhere that I want to be. Honestly, it was a no-brainer for me weighing my options, so here I am. The fans still love me. I think they would still love me regardless if I go anywhere. I am just excited to be a Brown, and they are, too."
Check out the best 100 photos from this season by the Browns photo team