While Tyler Boyd has only recently emerged as one of the top young receivers in the NFL, A.J. Green has been a dominating presence since before Boyd even began college.
Having both playing at a high level together is great. Having both on the verge of entering contracts years is not so great.
It would be great to see the Bengals extend both, but will they be willing to invest so heavily at wide receiver? They weren’t in 2015 when Marvin Jones Jr. and Mohamed Sanu were free agents and Green was months away from his first extension, so there’s some form of precedent for the downside of this situation.
So, who would you pick to b extended: Green or Boyd?
The case for Green
The Bengals selected Green in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft; one round before they selected Andy Dalton. Green has been Dalton’s go-to guy ever since. He has size, speed, and skill that has helped him become one of the league’s best pass catchers. He is an incredible deep threat with great ball skills who finally started to get some work in the slot last season. Green has amassed over 1,000 receiving yards in every season except his injured shortened 2016 and 2018 seasons.
You already knew all of that, it’s A.J. Green for crying out loud. But that brings us to the negatives. Green is coming off his second season-ending injury in three years. His injured toe is fine now, but on top of that, he will be 31 before the season begins. Obviously any team should want peak Green while he’s still near his peak, but some would be concerned about the Bengals being tied financially to the aging receiver, and they’d have a point.
A case for Boyd
The Bengals wanted a receiver in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but after a run on receivers forced them to selected cornerback William Jackson instead (dang!), they took Boyd in round two.
Boyd is only 24 years old and coming off of his best NFL season. He stepped up in Green’s absence at the end of 2018 with 76 receptions on the season for 1,028 yards and 7 touchdowns. More than that, he has come up big in clutch moments. Boyd broke out last season, but has a way to go before being considered amongst the top receivers in the league.
Still, he is younger than Green and could be a better long term investment. He also still has the potential to develop; particularly with the new coaching staff.
What this is ignoring is the likelihood that they extend both of them. Last year, they invested heavily in the defensive line with a pair of extensions to Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. That was a good move that they were able get done for a dollar amount that made sense.
Doing something similar with Green and Boyd would be the right move. The key would be to structure Green’s contract in a way that allows the Bengals to get out of it for short money if his play declines.
One other option is try to extend Boyd now, and in the event an extension doesn’t get done for Green, the Bengals can franchise tag him. He has good case get the tag, but Boyd does not when you consider it’s a one-year deal worth around $17 million. Boyd just isn’t that caliber of player right now, but Green should be.
Who would you rather the Bengals extend A.J. Green or Tyler Boyd?
This poll is closed