Bengals Make Final Decision on A.J. Green’s Future: Report

AJ Green Franchise Tagged

Getty A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs onto the field before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Cincinnati Bengals are planning to retain one of the top receiving weapons in football for the 2020 season.

The Bengals are currently planning to franchise tag wide receiver A.J. Green for if no long-term deal is reached between both parties, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano. The move would keep one of the NFL’s top wideouts in Cincinnati next season with the Bengals expected to draft a new starting quarterback with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Green has been a dynamic weapon for the Bengals offense since he was drafted at No. 4 overall in 2011 and was named to the Pro Bowl in his first seven seasons in the league, earning three second-team All-Pro selections in the same span. Six of those seasons also saw Green finish with more than 1,000 receiving yards with a career total of 602 receptions for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns.

But injuries have also plagued Green, 31, with him missing seven games of the final eight games in the 2018 season before sitting out for all of 2019 with torn ligaments in his ankle.

Green just finished out his four-year, $60 million deal and was engaged in talks with the Bengals about a long-term contract extension, but negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement has created a standstill between both sides, making a franchise-tag route for Green more appealing.

The cost of a franchise tag for Green is expected to run about $18.4 million for the Bengals, who have about $47.6 million in cap space with viable options to clear even more space.

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Green Not Fan of Franchise Tag

Discussions about Green’s future have been ongoing since the middle of the regular season, which has given him ample opportunity to speak about the possible scenarios for him and Bengals moving forward. Let’s just say Green wasn’t huge on the idea of a franchise tag.

“For me, it would be an insult,” Green said via The Cincinnati Enquirer in October. “It’s my second deal, so I’m getting older. That is one year older. No, I’m not into a one-year. Give me a long term or just let me go. I don’t understand the franchise. I just feel like the franchise should be eliminated if you are five years in. … You can’t franchise veterans because you are 30-31, they franchise you that is an extra year or two of people not going to give you a long-term deal. I don’t like it. I hate the franchise tag. I hate the rookie scale, the fifth-year option. I hate all that staff.”

While Green might not like being franchise-tagged, the veteran wide receiver also made it clear he wasn’t interested in turning down the money and would still play even if they elected to go with a tag opposed to a long-term deal. If Green could have things his way, he would stay with the Bengals until he was ready to call it a career.

“For one, the franchise is not the best thing, but I’m not turning down $18 million,” Green said back in January about a possible franchise tag. “When you run a business, you have to make difficult decisions. When you put that on me, that’s what you’re showing me. You only want me for one year, and I always play with a chip on my shoulder, so we’ll see what happens. Like I said, I love the city of Cincinnati, I love the team … I always wanted to be here for my whole career.”

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