Cincinnati Bengals: How Does Another Injury Impact A.J. Green’s Future?
Likely being without top pass catcher A.J. Green for the start of the regular season due to an ankle injury is a tough blow for the Cincinnati Bengals, but it may help clear up a big question hanging over the franchise.
Prior to his training camp ankle injury, the buzz around A.J. Green was about whether or not the 2011 first round pick would get a contract extension before the season started. Green is entering the final year of his deal. His running mate Tyler Boyd got a four year $43 million extension two weeks ago.
To be fair, there has been nothing to this point that suggest this will be a difficult negotiation. Both Green and Bengals owner Mike Brown have expressed a desire to keep Green in stripes for life.
Still, when you consider that the Bengals were seemingly content to lose guys like Marvin Jones, Andrew Whitworth, and Mohamed Sanu to free agency, you have to wonder about Green. No news is not good news. The franchise has not yet recovered from losing the aforementioned trio.
An injury is never a good thing for a franchise, but Green’s latest one may have shifted the leverage when it comes time to sit at the negotiating table. Green is still a top level player. He averaged just over five catches per game last year before getting hurt.
However, the seven time Pro Bowler is 31 now. 2019 will mark the third time in four seasons Green will miss significant time with injury. Fair or unfair, it is a good bet that he has gotten the injury prone label by some around the league.
When you consider everything in the last two paragraphs, whenever the Bengals offer Green a contract, that may well be better then what Green would get if he hit the open market. That wouldn’t have been a reasonable line of thinking even six months ago.
Especially with the Boyd extension and offseason moves that seem to signal a run based offense, a case can now be made that Green needs the Bengals more than they need him. If the team starts well this year without Green, this is no longer a case to make. It will be a fact. Cincinnati has struggled to win without number 18 in the past, but that may change with new faces roaming the sidelines.
So, while Bengals fans will miss Green when the games start to count, they can also take comfort in knowing that the chances of him ever playing anywhere other than Cincinnati continue to lessen by the day.