Head coach Zac Taylor is heading into his second offseason with the Bengals. His first order of business may be coaching the South team at the Senior Bowl, but he still obviously has an eye on the state of his team entering a vital offseason for his future. One big part of this offseason, as Taylor sees it, appears to be Cincinnati bringing back wide receiver A.J. Green.
Just asked Zac Taylor off podium if AJ Green was a priority for the #Bengals to bring back and he said he definitely is. Said he is back healthy and a huge weapon; says the plan is for him to remain in Cindy but there will have to be contract conversations this spring.— RosterWatch (@RosterWatch) January 21, 2020
It should come as no surprise that an offensive minded head coach wants to bring back the team’s best receiver. It seems like a no brainer to even want Green on your team. When he is on the field he demands a ton of attention which opens up things for players like Tyler Boyd and John Ross. It also keeps teams from crowding the line of scrimmage, so Joe Mixon doesn’t have to deal with so much traffic early in his carry.
The reasons things are even in question are because Cincinnati is sometimes hesitant to pay their aging stars, Green is going to be 32 in July and the wide receiver has already stated he wants a long term deal.
The most realistic situation is Green getting franchise tagged by the Bengals this offseason. The veteran receiver said he is prepared to sit out OTA’s if that comes to pass, which is fair given that he wouldn’t have his long term future secure.
Green is well aware that his next contract could be his last big payday in the NFL, and he seems very willing to take it from the Bengals, but he also knows that his biggest negotiation chip is the threat of leaving Cincinnati. It really is the only leverage players can have.
The best case scenario seems to be Cincinnati for them to franchise tag Green, but then work out a multi-year contract before the season. The Bengals will likely be clearing a ton of cap this offseason with quarterback Andy Dalton ($17.7 million) and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn ($9.5 million) having their contracts erased from the books. You could easily fit a contract in there for Green on top of all the cap space the team already has.
It is just great to see that Taylor isn’t tip toeing around the subject of whether he wants Green to return next season. He still has yet to see what his offense can do with the pro bowl wide receiver after he missed all of 2019. There shouldn’t be any doubt the Green being a part of this offense can only make it better. He could also be very valuable to have for a possible rookie quarterback transitioning to the NFL.
In some way shape or form, Green will be with the Bengals in 2020, but it is a matter of if he will be with the team after that.