Coming into this past week, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Falcons entered their preseason matchup highlighted by heir All-Pro wideouts in A.J. Green and Julio Jones. Though neither would play, no one is questioning the fact that they are two of the greatest receivers in the NFL today.
But there was almost a trade that could have left the Falcons with Green, the Cleveland Browns with Jones, and the Bengals with neither.
When the 2011 NFL Draft commenced, the Bengals were looking to draft either Green out of Georgia, or Jones out of Alabama, depending on which one was available at pick no. 4. When the Bengals were finally on the clock and both players were still on the board, the Falcons attempted to trade up and select Green, while the Bengals would move back so far that they would miss out on getting either player.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter later reported the Bengals were close to completing a trade to allow the Falcons to swap first round picks, but the deal fell apart at the last-minute after Cincinnati felt that the Falcons offer was undervalued:
“We spoke with Atlanta numerous times over the last week but just felt good at not moving back to 27,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. “It’s more than what we were willing to do and felt good about the player we were going to stay at four and that’s where they wanted to go and pick that player.”
Instead, the Bengals kept their pick, and now have one of the greatest receivers in the NFL.