One of the more impressive "changes" by this organization, since "the victory" by Marvin Lewis in 2011, is the Bengals' long-term commitment with their core players. Last year, the team signed Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap to extensions -- two core defensive linemen. This commitment was reiterated again this week when the Cincinnati Bengals announced that an agreement was reached with Andy Dalton on a six-year extension. Where were you when you heard? I was at CVS picking up a bag of pistachios.
Marvin Lewis is happy. Let's keep this train rolling, we imagine him singing with a slight Jersey accent and three buttons missing from the neck down on his disco shirt.
According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Lewis sent A.J. Green a text, after Dalton's deal, telling his star receiver to have his agent contact the Bengals for a long-term deal.
CINCINNATI-Marvin texted AJ Green Sun after learning Dalton signed. Told AJ to have his agent get talks going. Marvin wants core signed now.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 5, 2014
Do it, do it, do it.
OK, there really isn't that much of a rush... and a long-term deal doesn't benefit anyone right now.
There's no practical reason to make a deal right now -- or even in the next 2-3 years. The Bengals exercised the fifth-year option on Green's deal, keeping him in Cincinnati through 2015. Green will earn $13.236 million over the next two seasons, with $10.176 million projected in 2015. If a deal isn't struck by March 2016, Cincinnati could use the franchise tag -- average of the top-five salaries at each position -- which amounted to $12.312 million in 2014. In truth, it's extremely doubtful that Green will enter free agency until 2017. Wait a year. See what happens in the next year or two. Dare I say... anything could happen.
BUT IF YOU SIGN GREEN TO AN EXTENSION RIGHT NOW, he'll be cheaper... forever!!! OK, there's this minor point, a nuisance really, that may interrupt this idea. Green actually has to agree to the terms. At the money that Green will make on his next multi-year contract, it probably won't make that much of a difference if it's this year, next year or two years from now. And, if you're A.J. Green, why sign a deal right now? Injury... sure, it's a risk. But soon the top receivers in the game will age out, making him the prominent receiver and most likely, the recipient of the richest receiver contract (or at least, the top-three). Green would likely reject anything anyway, and would you blame him for wanting to see his market value? Though you have to admit, if the Bengals secure significant strides away from their postseason blunders, this could change into a more dynastical perspective for Green, he just seems to have that personality.
Now if you want to talk long-term extensions that should happen sooner, rather than later, let's talk linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He's another player that we'd love to have forever and ever and ever. Yet despite entering the final year of a three-year deal, he'll only become a restricted free agent after this season. Cincinnati will have a superior bargaining position against any team looking to poach our wrecking machine, but Burfict will cost us. Truth is: We need Burfict long-term for obvious reasons (outside the "he's a complete badass that might tap into unimaginable powers to digitally-punch you through the computer" argument). Atkins and Dunlap are our core defensive linemen. The secondary is a mix of youth and veteran leadership, most of whom are core players as well. Cincinnati's linebacker position is like a coloring book without the crayons... well, other than Bloody Burfict Red.
In our book of priority, right now, when it comes to long-term deals, it has to be Burfict > Green.