Cincinnati Bengals: The Stakes are High to Extend A.J. Green
The Cincinnati Bengals have placed the franchise tag on A.J. Green. Here’s what happens next.
The Cincinnati Bengals ensured A.J. Green will be in stripes for the 2020 season, placing the one year, $18 million franchise tag on the star wideout.
This move was expected, as negotiations between the two sides were likely put on hold while the collective bargaining agreement was being decided upon. With the CBA being ratified just yesterday, it left little time for serious extension talks.
Green has stated that he does not want to play under the franchise tag and the uncertainty that comes with it. Rather, he’d prefer to stay in Cincinnati long term. Despite his injury history, the franchise likely wants to keep him in the Queen City for the rest of his career as well, at the right price, of course.
The former Georgia stand out has made it clear that if he and the organization did not come to a long term agreement before July 15th, the deadline, then he would sit out of off-season programs and potentially even training camp.
If Andy Dalton were still expected to be the man behind center, this wouldn’t be as big of a deal. However, with Joe Burrow widely speculated to take the reigns in Cincinnati, the stakes become higher.
Zac Taylor, Dan Pitcher, and the rest of the Bengal’s coaching staff would undoubtedly prefer Green to be present as Burrow makes his foray into the NFL. The leadership he provides and the opportunity to build chemistry would be extremely valuable. Attempting to get on the same page week one rather than the offseason may prove to be a difficult task.
In addition, the Bengals are desperately attempting to make a leap from their 2-14 season a year ago, and having Green throughout the entire process will be vital in doing so.
So what happens next?
After accounting for Green’s new cap hit, the front office has roughly $36 million to work with in free agency. The first step will likely include attempting to re-sign their own in addition to bringing in some outside targets. After that, the draft will be on the horizon and the team will likely look to facilitate a trade for Dalton.
Once those two events are over, however, the focus will shift towards Green and attempting to work out a long term deal. With so much on the line, expect the front office to work tirelessly to ensure the star wide-receiver remains a Bengal for the foreseeable future.