The Cincinnati Bengals received some good news and some bad news on star receiver A.J. Green on Wednesday: Green is ready to return to the team, but his stay may not last long depending on how the Bengals treat him in the offseason.
Green, who has missed every game this season with an ankle injury, told Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic he’s aiming to play against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10. The Bengals are on a bye in Week 9.
While Green also expressed a desire to remain with the Bengals long term, he made it clear he does not want to receive the franchise tag in the offseason. The 31-year-old Green is in the final year of his current contract, and is set to be a free agent at the end of the season.
By tagging Green, the Bengals would retain the wide receiver for another season. That would come at a big cost, as the franchise tag salary is calculated using an average of the top-five salaries at that player’s position.
While the one-year pay day would be nice, Green is more interested in working out a long-term deal. He’s reportedly rekindled talks with the Bengals after breaking things off following his ankle injury. If they can’t get a deal done, it sounds like Green would rather get a more secure contract elsewhere.
Figuring out the right price for Green will be a challenge. When healthy, Green is an explosive player, and one of the best wide receivers in football. Green, however, has had trouble staying on the field in recent seasons. Green played in just 9 games in 2018, and has already missed 8 games in 2019.
Given how much Green means to the Bengals — he’s a first-round draft pick who has made the Pro Bowl seven times with the team — there should be pressure on both sides to get a deal done. If that doesn’t happen, the Bengals have to decide whether it’s worth angering a franchise icon by giving Green the franchise tag.
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