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Franchise tag extension deadline passes for A.J. Green and Bengals

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Green is now set to be a free agent in the 2021 offseason.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As expected, the Bengals and A.J. Green did not agree to a contract extension prior to today’s deadline to do so. Green will now play out the 2020 under the tag before he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

That is, unless the Bengals tag Green again, which is unlikely since a second-straight tag would cost over $20 million. It’s very hard to see Cincinnati paying Green like that at this stage of his career.

So, unless an offseason extension gets done, next year could be the first year Green has been allowed to hit the open market.

For now, Green will play out 2020 in what hopes to be a bounceback season after an ankle injury cost him all of the 2019 season. Not only has he not gotten to play under Zac Taylor’s new offensive system, but 2020 will also see him with a new full-time quarterback for the first time.

Green’s entire career up until now has seen him catching passes almost exclusively from Andy Dalton, who was let go this offseason as he was replaced with No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow.

The hope is Burrow and Taylor can get Green back to his prime years when he was racking up 1,000+ yards in five-straight seasons. He will turn 32 later this month, but the Bengals believe he’s still capable of being one of the league’s best receivers.

Let’s just hope there is a 2020 season for Green to prove he’s still got it.