Wide receiver AJ Green has been the Cincinnati Bengals’ best player since he was drafted by the team with the fourth overall pick in 2011. He hasn’t seen the field yet this season, however, as he’s recovering from an ankle injury.
Green began practicing for the first time this season (in a limited fashion) over the last two weeks, but he missed practice again this week, and according to sportswriter Tyler Dragon, Green says he’s not ready to return yet, saying he still has “a little ways to go.”
While Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has gone on record saying the team has no intention to trade Green, we’ve all heard teams say they weren’t going to trade their star players only to turn around and do just that (see: the New York Giants trading Odell Beckham Jr.). Put simply: it’s highly likely Green wants a change of scenery, and wouldn’t mind playing for a team that was a contender. So if the Bengals do decide to trade Green prior to the October 29th, what teams would be the best fits for the Pro Bowl wideout?
Green Bay Packers
Just this past week, the NFL Network’s Peter Schrager floated the idea that Green Bay could trade linebacker Blake Martinez for Green. Schrager noted this may be unlikely because the Packers are playing well and are currently in first place in the NFC North–but the Packers have been lacking at the wide receiver position, and Green would give their offense an immediate boost.
While Davante Adams is one of the league’s best, Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are young and inexperienced and have both missed time this year. A 1-2 punch of Adams and Green with Aaron Rodgers delivering them the ball? That has to be a scary thought for every NFC team, and the Packers have enough trade capital to do it.
MVP candidate Russell Wilson has Tyler Lockett, who is establishing himself as one of the league’s most dynamic wide receivers. But imagine the possibilities for the Seahawks offense should they decide to make a move and trade for Green.
The Seahawks are playing lights out football right now, and their team chemistry seems solid. That doesn’t mean Pete Carroll wouldn’t make a move in to acquire a stand out veteran wide receiver like Green, who would give Russell Wilson an additional play-making target.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have been one of the bigger surprises this season. They have a dominant defense and an efficient offense led by a strong run game. What they’re missing is a top-tier veteran wideout who could be a reliable target for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Coupled with tight end George Kittle, Green could provide the 49ers with an additional boost to their passing game, and a Kittle/Green combo would absolutely tax opposing defenses.
The Eagles have had a disappointing season so far in 2019. Carson Wentz is playing well, but with DeSean Jackson not at 100 percent, and Alshon Jeffery playing inconsistent ball, Wentz could use another talented veteran receiver.
Green could provide that veteran presence, and with Zach Ertz and Jeffery, Wentz would have a very dynamic trio that would certainly give opposing defenses headaches. NFL analyst Peter King has already suggested this move–and Twitter seems to agree with him.
New England Patriots
When it comes to teams with histories of acquiring excellent veteran wide receivers via trade, the Patriots are at the top of the list. And if Bill Belichick wants to see what an AJ Green and Tom Brady pairing would look like, he has the draft picks to make a trade like this happen.
Whether or not the trade happens this season or next, it’s looking more and more like Green wants out of Cincinnati.