If A.J. Green leaves, blame the Bengals, not him
A.J. Green didn’t play at all this season. With free agency looming, Green playing somewhere else in 2020 isn’t hard to imagine.
Over the summer, seven time Pro Bowler A.J. Green expressed a desire to stay with the Bengals after playing out the final year of his contract.
Much has changed since then, Green suffered an ankle injury early on in training camp. Except for a day or so leading up to the second Ravens game, there was never any legitimate optimism that Green would take the field in a game this season.
Toss in the team’s awful year, and Green’s stance on staying with the Bengals has softened a bit. He still sounds like a man who doesn’t want to leave his only NFL home, but he realizes it is a possibility.
Cincinnati completely bungled the handling of his injury. He never should have gone anywhere but the injured reserved list. Instead, his roster spot was wasted for the vast majority of the season. This caused Green to become a season long distraction through no fault of his own. Some fans even called number 18 a disappointment this year.
The former Georgia Bulldog has always been a class act and likely genuinely wants to stay in Cincinnati. However, even at 31 and coming off a handful of injuries, there will be other teams interested in a player of Green’s caliber on the open market.
Money likely won’t be a deciding factor for Green, but at least one team will almost surely offer him more than the Bengals. At this point in his career, the chance to play for a true contender to win playoff games has to be a factor. Regardless of how good Joe Burrow may end up being, the Bengals cannot realistically offer that anytime soon.
Lastly, the Bengals organization treated their best player very poorly this year, it should come as no surprise to anyone if Green is finally fed up. If that winds up being the case, the front office once again has no one to blame but themselves for another excellent player leaving for nothing in return.