Bengals: Why the franchise tag on A.J. Green is win-win for Cincinnati
By Steve Rivera
The Cincinnati Bengals made the expected move by using the franchise tag on A.J. Green, a smart decision the veteran receiver has said he won’t be happy about.
As expected, the Cincinnati Bengals placed the franchise tag on soon to be disgruntled wide receiver A.J. Green. Green, who has not been shy to tell fans and especially the organization, that using the tag is not his preferred way of doing business, now finds himself where he did not want to be.
Soon to be rookie quarterback Joe Burrow made his feelings known on the veteran wide receiver, flexed some muscle for a guy not yet on the team, and got his way, sort of. Green was going to be in Cincinnati in 2020, and the Bengals made no secret of that. However, the potential ramifications aren’t a secret, and this story isn’t over.
Green has been vocal about a long term deal. He’s been vocal that while he will take the money the tag provides, he will be reluctant to participate in team activities prior to the regular season. It’s also worth remembering the guy hasn’t played OR taken a hit in a near NFL lifetime. Fans can cheer that he’ll be in uniform in 2020 but they should also hold their collective breath.
The Bengals get credit for proceeding with some caution. They would be wise to accept that he won’t get a lot of time with Burrow prior to opening weekend, and let Green prove he’s healthy, can stay healthy, and contribute significantly before tossing more cash at a player on the wrong side of 30.
Green has everything in the world to prove in 2020. If his goal is a long term deal to stay in Cincinnati, he could be on deck for a monster season. If this all ends up as an audition for 2021, the same deal. The bottom line is both sides got what they need for one more season. The Bengals are on the hook for only one more year, and Green has the opportunity to show he’s still the goods.
It’s not perfect, but few things these days are. For the Cincinnati Bengals, it’s win-win. For Green, not so much.