It wouldn’t be going too far to argue that wide receiver A.J. Green is one of the greatest players in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise. Were it not for some very serious injury issues in recent seasons, it would hardly even be a conversation, but because of the reality of his recent health, he now finds himself in a somewhat vulnerable position.
Having now completed a contract extension that at the time of signing several years ago was one of the largest ever for the wide receiver position, Green is currently slated to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career at the age of 31.
The Bengals have no intentions of letting that happen, even though they aren’t quite sure how they will get that done. From the sounds of it, they are in a boat similar to that in which the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves concerning Bud Dupree. They know they want to keep the player around. It’s just a matter of figuring out the best way to do that.
“We’re still working through that process”, second-year head coach Zac Taylor said. “He’s a guy that we are excited about to a part of this team, first and foremost. That’s what matters right now. As we go through the offseason, we’ll figure out how it best fits”.
While Green said in the offseason a year ago that he didn’t want to be franchise tagged, his tune had changed in the past year. The fact that he missed the entirety of the 2019 season due to injury may well have had something to do with his willingness to accept the possibility of the one-year deal.
“Right now, we expect him to be a part of the team”, Taylor went on to say. “We want him to be a part of the team. He’s certainly been a valuable member for the last couple of years and done some great things. I’m excited to coach him really for the first time this next season”.
While recovering from an injury that ended his 2018 season, Green suffered what proved to be another season-ending injury early on in the Bengals’ very first training camp practice of 2019. It was originally believed that he might only miss a couple weeks into the regular season, but he would never return all year.
Over his first eight years between 2011 and 2018, over 111 games, Green has put up 602 career receptions for 8907 yards and 82 touchdowns, averaging 14.8 yards per catch during that time. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro on the second team, since the Bengals made him the fourth-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.