If A.J. Green Means What he Says, the Bengals Should Extend him Now
Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green publicly expressed his desire to remain in Cincinnati via a local television station on Sunday. The seven time Pro Bowler is entering the final year of his deal. Hopefully, Cincinnati’s front office is listening.
A.J. Green is one of the best wide receivers in the game. Excluding last year where he missed the second half of the season due to injury, he has never posted less than 65 catches in a season. That kind of consistency is a good indicator that the almost 31 year old still has lots of good football left in him. Green has had injuries here and there, but is far from injury prone.
All this makes a good case for the Bengals to lock up their most proven offensive weapon for the long term now. Still, a better reason to do so is that Green wants to be in Cincinnati.
Let’s face it. Cincinnati is not a destination for elite free agents. The Bengals have to acquire most of their talent via the draft. If the team drafts well, the franchise competes well. If the team drafts poorly, it isn’t competitive. We will see how this year’s class pans out, but Tyler Eifert is the only Pro Bowler drafted by Cincinnati since 2013. Joe Mixon should have made a Pro Bowl by now. Still, three straight losing seasons is not surprising given the recent draft history.
Thus, when you have a player with Green’s talent level, production, and character who wants to stay in the organization, the decision makers should be running to the phone to get it done. Also, the Bengals could contend in 2019, but a 4-6 win season is perhaps more likely. Another losing season, an expiring contract, and Green could change his tune towards staying in Cincinnati. The Bengals would be foolish to take that chance.
Fellow Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd is also entering the final year of his deal. The former Pitt Panther had a breakout season last year and the Bengals should do everything they can to keep him around long term as well.
Boyd is younger, but his feelings about staying in Cincinnati after this year are unclear. Green is the sure thing and appears ready to get something done. The ball is in the Bengals’ court. and they need to act on it fast.