Now that A.J. Green will officially remain with the Bengals for at least eight more games, the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver and the organization that drafted him have resumed contract negotiations.
As the fan base that witnessed the Andrew Whitworth debacle, Bengals fans know that no player is ever guaranteed to re-sign with Cincinnati nowadays, especially one that will demand a high price tag.
No matter who ends up paying for Green’s next contract, it will be a hefty one considering the other free agents he’ll be potentially joining in the open market.
The team of writers of ESPN’s NFL Nation put together a list of the top 25 free agents for the 2020 offseason and placed Green just outside the top 10 at the 11th spot.
11. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
2019 salary: $15.1 million | Age: 32
Prediction: The Bengals will re-sign him.
The lack of urgency from both sides before the trade deadline indicates the Bengals and Green feel good about a long-term partnership. The team believes having Green on the roster outweighs the benefits of a trade that involves draft picks that could help retool its roster. Given the front office’s history, don’t be shocked if Green receives a lucrative deal despite his injury history. — Ben Baby
Despite being the No. 1 receiver in the upcoming class of free agents, Green was listed behind seven quarterbacks including Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Dak Prescott. The odds of any of those three hitting the open market is minuscule, but guys like Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston could very well be and will be of higher demand than Green due to positional value.
With Green, it wouldn’t make any sense for the Bengals to let him to reach free agency. Throughout all of the noise and rumors, the Bengals remained true to their word that Green would not be traded. The front office would like to see him in Cincinnati for the rest of his career just as much as Green himself does.
And the rest of the league would love to see him test the waters this upcoming March. If he does, history tells us Cincinnati won’t be able to bring a player of his caliber back.