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Extending A.J. Green will be difficult for Bengals

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The Cincinnati Enquirer examines how difficult it will be to sign A.J. Green to a long-term deal. There are other factors involved, such as the wide receiver market and the amount of money it will take to ink Green long-term.

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The Cincinnati Enquirer offers an interesting, though clearly established, perspective on Cincinnati's chances of extending wide receiver A.J. Green. As Paul Dehner Jr. points out, both sides want to get a deal done eventually but this could be one of the more difficult deals yet.

Cincinnati would prefer to ink a long-term deal sooner rather than later for obvious financial reasons. A.J. Green would prefer to wait -- he'll make over $10 million this year and then an "estimated" $14 million and $16.8 million if Cincinnati applies the franchise tag in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In addition to that, Green would be smart to allow the wide receiver market to play out so that he can negotiate something more than the superstar receivers entering free agency next year.

Denver's Demaryius Thomas, Dallas' Dez Bryant and Atlanta's Julio Jones are all also in negotiations for extensions with their current clubs. Thomas and Bryant were given the franchise tag while Green and Jones will be eligible for that designation next season.

None are expected to approach Johnson money, but whoever agrees first likely will be leapfrogged by the other three as agents use one contract to set the floor for another.

In other words, if Green signs an extension this weekend (he won't), the representatives for Thomas, Bryant and Jones would cite Green's deal as a floor. By the time these extensions are completed, Green could be the lowest paid of those superstars, if he inks a new deal first. Green's representatives met with the Bengals in February to "discuss signing him to a long-term deal" but those discussions were fruitless.

It's also worth noting that Green is represented by super sports agent Tom Condon, who is also the agent for Bryant.

As we pointed out earlier this week, former sports agent Joel Curry penned a commentary that talks about these deals.

"Signing Green long-term may be easier said than done because of Cincinnati's preferred structure with lucrative veteran contracts," writes Joel Corry at CBSSports.com. "The team's contracts are typically light on guaranteed money because of the absence of base salaries guarantees. Quarterback Andy Dalton's six-year extension with a base value of $16 million per year has a team high $17 million in guarantees. By contrast, $27 million of Wallace's $30 million in guarantees was fully guaranteed at signing. Since reinventing the wheel structurally will be a challenge for Green, it would not be a surprise if he played at least one year under a franchise tag."

There are other factors favoring Cincinnati, most notably the projected salary cap, which could reach $160 million in 2016 and continue to increase in the years that follow.