The deadline for franchise tag players to sign a long-term extension with their teams is July 15th. That means time is running out for the Bengals and A.J. Green to work out an extension, which remains unlikely to happen.
According to ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler (via Bleacher Report), the Bengals expect Green to ultimately sign his franchise tag tender, but it’s not looking good for a long-term deal getting done.
“He has not signed the tag,” said Fowler. “I’ve talked to some sources involved. They don’t know either if he’s going to or if a long-term deal is going to get done. They don’t sound overly optimistic in Cincinnati that their best pass-catcher will be locked up long-term. They expect that he’ll play this year under the tag. It’s sort of a feeling-out period for both parties because Green practiced all but five minutes last year with various injuries, including a foot issue, and so they still consider him one of the best wide receivers when healthy. They know he’s ready to go right now and finally healed up, so maybe a one-year pact is best for both parties.”
Ever since the offseason began, the expectation was Green would be tagged and essentially forced to play under the one-year deal in 2020. Because he’s missed much of the last two seasons due to multiple injuries, it’s made it nearly impossible for both side to agree on what a fair-market deal for Green would look like.
That’s why Green playing under the one-year tag for a $17,865,000-million payday is probably the best option unless he’s willing to sign a team-friendly extension that protects the Bengals if his 31-year-old body continues to break down (he also turns 32 on July 31st).
The good news for Green is he’ll be one of the NFL’s highest-paid receivers for the 2020 season, though he obviously wants the long-term security that would come with an extension.