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Bengals prepared to franchise tag A.J. Green if negotiations take downward turn

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This would be a lose-lose, but it’s still a possibility.

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals won’t see A.J. Green on the field this season after a preseason ankle injury and many setbacks on that injury, but they certainly aren’t planning on letting him go.

Green could become a free agent this offseason. However, don’t expect that to happen as the Bengals plan to, if negotiations with Green take a downward turn, franchise tag the Cincinnati legend.

“If the two parties fail to reach an agreement before free agency opens in March, the Bengals are committed to franchise tagging the seven-time Pro Bowler to keep him off the open market, a high-level source told The Enquirer,” beat reporter Tyler Dragon reported.

The 6-foot-4 Green was drafted with the fourth-overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. The former Georgia Bulldog has spent all nine professional seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

After playing ten games in 2016, Green ended his streak of five-straight 1,000-yard seasons. That said, he’s become one of Cincinnati’s iconic sports players over the last few seasons.

It’d be brutal to see him go.

However, for the Bengals, it’d be brutal to see him stay on a franchise tag as well, hurting their ability to spend during the free agency period.

Green is looking for a high-value, long-term contract. He’s not looking to stay in Cincinnati one more season while his age increases and his play decreases, hurting this value on the open market in 2021.

For Cincinnati, if the franchise tag in 2020 resembles that of the one in 2019, they’ll be looking at contract in which Green could be making over $16.7 million, far less than he’d sign for in a long-term deal.

Green is on the last year of a four-year, $60 million contract. It’s clearly not an ideal situation for either party. That said, let’s just hope Green and the Bengals will be able to figure out a quality deal in the coming months.