A.J. Green is beginning to sound like a player who wants to say the right thing for the fans, and the right thing for himself.
I can hear dyed-in-the-cloth Cincinnati Bengals fans groaning at the notion of moving on from A.J. Green. That said, the times are changing. Green, who was drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, looks to be in a position where it is logical to move him this upcoming offseason. His words and posture dictate that an often tone-deaf franchise read the tea leaves, and turn to greener pastures.
Ah, but this is the Bengals we are speaking of. Seldom do they make the smart and savvy NFL kind of decision. For proof, look at a wasted non-effort at the 2019 trade deadline where those greener pastures were there for the taking. Instead, they sat on Green instead of making a deal, benched a veteran quarterback instead of making a deal, and stood pat on a roster that offered tangible returns.
It’s as if Cincinnati likes being this bad.
However, it’s also possible that Green has forced the issues. In comments that make it obvious he might only be talking a nice game, the regularly injured wide receiver may be making it clear it’s time for a change of scenery.
"“If you’re not committed to me long-term, I understand. There are no hard feelings. You have a business to run. All great businesses face difficult decisions. I understand that. For me, I have to make a big decision as well.”"
2020 looks to be a season of transition for the Bengals. With the potential of the first overall pick in the draft, and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow available, Cincinnati is in a position to turn the corner. Additionally, a deep class of wide receivers would allow the Bengals to find some young talent to restock a roster that is seldom on the field.
It is also worth noting some of the comments being made by Green. Say what you want about his character, and it’s been above reproach, but threatening to skip OTA’s and possibly training camp with a rookie quarterback looking to take the reigns, smacks of a player already looking to disconnect.
If this is the expectation moving forward with A.J. Green, why would the Bengals be a willing participant? Eventually, the organization has to realize that a better scenario is one where Green isn’t a question mark over the course of a 16 game/17 week season.
The Bengals need to move on if for no other reason than Green is signaling he’s ready to seek those greener pastures. To hold on to him via the franchise tag is the kind of arrogance and ignorance ownership is known for. It’s also something Green knows all too well.