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A.J. Green maintaining status as top league-wide free agent

Injury history be damned, Green would be a popular commodity on the open market.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Green hasn’t played a down for the Cincinnati Bengals in over a year, and he’ll still be one of the biggest names to potentially enter free agency this offseason.

Very rarely do players of Green’s caliber officially hit the open market, but with Green’s unfortunate injury history combined with his age, the possibility does exist. And Green’s reputation hasn’t faded despite his extended absence from the field.

Back in November, ESPN NFL Nation writers ranked Green as the 11th best impending free agent for 2020. Two weeks ago, Gregg Rosenthal of rated Green at the exact same spot for his top 25 list of free agents.

11: A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

One of the toughest players to price after he missed all of last season to injury, Green is a borderline Hall of Famer who should still have some high-level years left.

Ahead of Green in the rankings were four quarterbacks: Dak Prescott (No. 1), Ryan Tannehill (No. 6), Drew Brees (No. 8), and Tom Brady (No. 9). Other stars such as Chris Jones (No. 2), Jadeveon Clowney (No. 4), and fellow wide receiver Amari Cooper (No. 3) rounded out the top 10.

The expectation for nearly all of those players is that they eventually reach a new deal with their respective teams, and that also goes for Green too. With several quarterbacks expecting new deals, plenty of teams will have to prioritize their spending to solidify that position and won’t be able to afford other top-level free agents, like Green.

Behind Green were a couple names that Bengals fans have begun familiarizing themselves with. Los Angeles Rams linebacker Cory Littleton cracked the list at No. 17 as well as offensive linemen Brandon Scherff of the Washington Redskins (No. 14), Anthony Costanzo of the Indianapolis Colts (No. 21), and Jack Conklin of the Tennessee Titans (No. 25). But If Green comes back on the franchise tag or a long-term deal, it’s hard to imagine the Bengals paying anyone else on this list.