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Bengals place franchise tag on A.J. Green

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A.J. Green is back in Cincinnati for at least the 2020 season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Just under two hours from the 11:59 a.m. EST deadline, the Cincinnati Bengals have officially designated A.J. Green as their franchise player. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero was the first to announce the move.

This is the first time the Bengals have utilized the franchise tag since 2013; when they used it on former defensive end Michael Johnson. Johnson left via free agency the following year in 2014 but returned to Cincinnati in 2015, resulting in the Bengals receiving a compensatory pick for Johnson while simultaneously getting him back.

The Bengals, who were expected to tag Green for the better part of three months, don’t expect the same timeline of events to unfold for Green. Before he turns 32 in late July, the Bengals would like to sign Green to a multi-year extension, and this gives them more time to make that happen.

If no deal is reached by the end of July 15th, Green will have to play the 2020 season on the tag (which is expected to be worth about $18 million for wide receivers) and the odds of him staying with the franchise beyond this year will drop dramatically. Green has said he would play on the tag, but would likely skip offseason workouts if he didn’t have some sort of extension. The Bengals could tag Green next offseason as well, but at some point, Green will want some long-term stability.

For now, this ensures Green will be with the team for this season, which head coach Zac Taylor confirmed would be the case back at the scouting combine. The next four months are all about keeping Green around for longer than just this year.