Chad Johnson has held the receiving titles for the Bengals for a long time. Now, AJ Green is within shooting range of all of Johnson’s records.
Ever since he first took the field as a Bengals player, AJ Green has been an absolute stud. After putting up 1,057 yards and 7 touchdowns his rookie season, Green has solidified himself as one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers. Since that classification is no longer in doubt, he can now set his sights higher. This season, Green has the chance to become the Bengals’ all-time leading receiver in several categories, surpassing Chad Johnson.
In many people’s eyes (including my own), Green has already surpassed Johnson by title as “best Bengals receiver of all time.” In seven seasons as a Bengal, Green has been over 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns (except in 2016, when he had an injury) – and in many cases far over. He has also been a pure class act in Cincinnati, never drawing any unnecessary attention to himself. Green didn’t even hold out when he deserved a new contract.
Johnson, not to diminish his illustrious career, took ten season to post similar career numbers to Green. To this point, he’s played 49 more games in Cincinnati than Green has. Also, many people recognize Johnson’s antics over the course of his career. Currently, Johnson leads Green in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, but Green could hypothetically take those titles very soon. If he can do that, Green will be the best Bengals receiver of all time in both title and statistics.
The most likely statistic for Green to pass Johnson this season is in touchdowns. He currently sits just 9 touchdowns behind Johnson’s career total (66 vs 57). For his career, Green has a 16 game pace of almost 9 touchdowns. So all he has to do to tie Johnson’s career total is have an average touchdown season. Green could also easily take the touchdown title outright by getting to double digit touchdowns this season. He has done that 3 times in his 7 seasons with the Bengals, so it would not be unrealistic to see Green become the Bengals all-time leader in touchdowns this season.
It is extremely unlikely that Green will pass Johnson in either catches or yards this season, although he is close. Johnson’s 751 catches are 195 clear of Green’s 556, and his 10,783 yards are 2,570 yards ahead of Green’s 8,213. A 195 catch, 2,570 yard season would be historic, so 2018 probably isn’t the year for Green to take hold of all the all-time Bengals records. However, a good season from him this year – 90-100 catches and 1,100-1,300 yards – would mean 2019 could be the year. No matter what, he is very close to all the records.
Green has already mentioned that he wants to get 100 touchdowns as a Bengal. We would all love to see him hit that special milestone, but more importantly, it means he wants to play in Cincinnati long term. If Green plays even five more seasons with the Bengals, there is no doubt he will be the all-time leading receiver for this team and go down as a Bengals legend.