The New England Patriots are one of those teams that seems to be forever in need of an elite receiver. Thus, whenever one seems to be available, New England is mentioned as a suitor. It’s happening again, and this time it’s Cincinnati Bengals 7-time Pro-Bowler A.J. Green.
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Green Appears to Have Asked to Be Traded on the Sideline
The 32-year-old receiver was seen on the sidelines, appearing a bit frustrated during his teams’ 27-3 loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. It looks as if Green wonders aloud why the team won’t trade him.
— Kyle Smith (@Kyle_Smith1087) October 11, 2020
The Bengals are in the midst of retooling their offense, and it’s possible Green isn’t a part of the long-term plan. Cincinnati selected Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, but Green has seemingly had a tough time connecting with him on the field.
Despite being targeted 34 times, Green has just 14 receptions for 119 yards in five games. Also, for the first time in his career, he appeared in a game that he didn’t start. Perhaps it’s the low production and the reserve role that bothered Green. In any case, he’s clearly not happy with his situation in Cincinnati.
The Patriots Have Been Mentioned as a Potential Suitor
Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston discussed the fit and the possibility. He wrote:
If Green indeed wants out of Cincinnati, it won’t be easy for the Bengals to grant his wish. Not only has the 32-year-old underperformed, but he also is owed $18.1 million this year after being franchise-tagged. Still, there are a number of teams that could use another quality wideout. One of those teams is the New England Patriots, who currently have Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski on the WR depth chart. If Green can return to form as a legitimate No. 1 option — and that seems like a big if at this point — he could add an entirely new dimension to the Patriots’ Cam Newton-led offense. Will Bill Belichick want to gamble on an aging receiver a year after dealing a second-round draft pick for Mohamed Sanu? It’s unlikely, but the Patriots head coach has taught us time and time again to expect the unexpected. The NFL’s trade deadline is Nov. 3, so there certainly will be plenty of speculation until then.
There is some question as to what kind of a player Green can still be. He missed all of 2019 with injury, and it’s possible he has lost a step. That step could be the difference between him creating the necessary separation from defenders and remaining covered. If this is the case, Green won’t be worth the financial investment or the transfer of assets necessary to bring him to Foxborough.
Bill Belichick and Co. took a similar gamble with a little lesser known receiver, and former teammate of Green, in Sanu in 2019. That didn’t work out as Sanu got injured last season, worked hard to return but was released before the start of the regular season this year. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers, but the Niners have since released him as well.
Could things be different with Green? Perhaps, but I think it’s far more likely the Patriots try to increase the workload for Harry and elevate a guy like Isaiah Zuber before parting with the trade assets and cash necessary to trade for and pay Green.
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