A.J. Green is set to become a free agent for the first time during the 2020 offseason and the Cincinnati Bengals will have plenty of say regarding Green’s future as they can place a massive franchise tag on the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. Cincinnati can pay Green $18 million next season if the Bengals choose to tag him. If Green had his choice, he’d prefer a long term deal with the franchise that drafted him, but it doesn’t sound like the veteran has any plans to holdout if he doesn’t get his way.
“The franchise tag is not the best thing,” Green told Elise Jesse of WLWT in Cincinnati. “But like I said, I’m not turning down $18 million.
“It just happens. When you run a business, you have to make difficult decisions. But I feel like when you put that on me, then that’s what you’re showing me, you only want me for one year. And I always play with a chip on my shoulder.”
The Bengals have a projected $49.3 million in cap space, so placing a premium on Green won’t be an issue. If the Bengals decide to use the franchise tag Green, they’ll have the summer to work out a deal with him. Cincinnati plans on keeping Green, making the franchise tag even more favorable given his injuries the past couple of seasons.
Green missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury, one year after playing just nine games due to a right toe injury. He played just 10 games in 2016 due to a right hamstring tear. Signing Green to a long-term deal doesn’t seem feasible for the Bengals, even if they wish to get one done.
“We are going to talk to him. All options are on the table,” Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin said. “I don’t have anything to announce. But he’s a guy that we plan on having next year. Hopefully, we will be able to get something done.”
Drafted fourth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, Green has 602 catches for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns, averaging 14.8 yards per catch. Green has six 1,000-yard seasons and has made the Pro Bowl seven times. Green said in the middle of the 2019 season the Bengals are the team he wants to play for.
“That’s just not who I am. I’m loyal to the person who gave me my shot,” Green said in October. “They took care of Larry (Fitzgerald). He’s a Cardinal. No matter how many times they rebuild, he’s a Cardinal. He’s the only guy still there.
“I want the team records. I want more Pro Bowls. I want all that. So when I leave there is going to be a standard. I still want the yardage, I still want the touchdowns.”