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The one player the Bengals can’t afford to lose is an obvious one

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With plenty of changes on the horizon for the Bengals this offseason, who is the one player the Bengals can’t afford to lose both in the short and long-term?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals will likely be looking for a new head coach this season, and that means sweeping changes could be made with the players in the building.

Depending on the coach, and the philosophy of the team, we could end up seeing a bunch of players cut or traded this offseason. Still, with all of this, there is one player the Bengals can not afford to lose or part ways with.

Wide Receiver A.J. Green

There may be a minority of the fan base that won’t understand this, and they may think a receiver isn’t that valuable to a team. Most of the time you’re right, but a receiver like Green doesn’t come along every day. He is what makes this offense tick. He is the player that makes everything on the Bengals offense work.

We can take a look at just who would be left at receiver without Green around. Brandon LaFell is the next best receiver currently on the roster, but he is hardly a top receiving threat. He currently has 44 catches for 452 yards this season.

Tyler Boyd and Josh Malone are young receivers, but they have struggled this season. Between the two, they have 18 catches for 158 yard while hauling in two touchdowns. These receivers are putting up these stats with the benefit of single coverage as well.

Why do they have single coverage?

Because Green soaks up all the extra attention from the opposing defenses.

Not to mention the fact that without Green defenses would start crowding the line of scrimmage making it tougher for the Bengals running game to do anything.

Green also provides Andy Dalton with a fail-safe plan. If everyone is covered he can throw it up to Green, and there is a good chance that something good will happen.

Whether it is green leaping over two defenders, or maybe he just draws a pass interference. Either way, no other receiver the Bengals have is capable of providing that to Dalton at this point.

Then there is the John Ross addition. He still is the biggest unknown going into next season. If he becomes the player we thought he could be, then he is the perfect player to pair with Green.

Ross would either get single coverage that he could easily beat with his speed, or he could draw some attention away from Green allowing him to do his job a lot easier.

Another reason Green is so important is a new coach could mean a new quarterback soon. Having a guy like Green for a young quarterback is huge. Again, he provides that safety blanket, and he also opens up underneath routes making decisions easier for a young guy.

The Bengals have several other core players worthy of this can’t lose label, but at the end of the day, Green is easily the one who if you removed him from this team it would have the biggest effect.

Most of it has to do with the caliber of players behind him, but you still don’t find receivers like him growing on trees.