Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green isn't worried about a contract extension -- which is something you'd expect from a player who has exuded humbleness and appreciation. "I handle the part of playing. I’m not hurting for money," said Green via Bengals.com. "I got my option. That’s enough for now. I'm just focused on football. Next year will take care of itself."
Green told reporters on Monday that his representatives met with the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL Scouting Combine "to discuss signing him to a long-term deal" but discussions were "apparently fruitless," writes ESPN's Coley Harvey.
The option that Green is referring is the fifth-year option that Cincinnati triggered last year. As part of the league's collective bargaining agreement, first-round draft picks have a fifth-year option written into their contract. Anyone drafted in the top-10, would receive a fifth-year option comparable to the transition tag at that player's respective position. For players drafted 11th-32nd, the fifth-year option is the average salary of the top-25 players (minus the highest two) at that player's position.
When the Bengals exercised the fifth-year option for A.J. Green on April 21, it cost the team $10.176 million -- completely guaranteed.
If the Bengals are unable to reach an extension with Green, they have the option of using the franchise tag next year. Bengals owner Mike Brown spoke about the contract situation with Green (be it a franchise tag or extension) last March:
"Our problem is what you just said, the money is so big. We are going to have a finite cap room with a handful of players who are going to be eligible for free agency," said Brown last March.
Some of the players who will become free agents next year include safeties George Iloka and Reggie Nelson, cornerbacks Leon Hall, Dre Kirkpatrick and Adam Jones, offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith and Kevin Zeitler, as well as wide receivers A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. The list grows.
"We are going to have to see what we can get done with that," said Brown. "We don't know yet where we are going to end up but we have tried to prepare ourselves for it some by holding back on cap expenditures this year which can be rolled over into next year. That will give us a little bit more potential to make deals."