This doesn’t mean hope is lost for a long-term deal to still get done. According to Geoff Hobson on Twitter, A.J. Green still hopes to retire a Bengal.
A.J. Green has a plan: “Play another four years and I hope to retire as a Bengal.’— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) July 17, 2020
Green still hopes to play another four years in Cincinnati despite having to play under the franchise tag.
There can be two outcomes for Green at the end of the season: either the Bengals tag him again, or he hits the open market.
If the Bengals tag him again, they price of the tag goes up. That wouldn’t be a good idea if they want to keep him around for a few more years.
So the Bengals’ best chance at retaining Green would be to negotiate with him once free agency starts. This does mean, of course, that every other team would also be able to negotiate with him as well, so there’s no guarantee that the Bengals would re-sign him.
However, based on Hobson’s tweet, Green wants to come back. Even if he is a free agent, it sounds like he only wants to sign with the Bengals.
Of course, just because Green wants to come back doesn’t mean that we can pencil him in for 2021. They still have to agree to terms, which the Bengals have failed to do for over a year. If the Bengals offer him a deal like they offered Andrew Whitworth, then Green will easily find greener pastures (no pun intended).
But if Green is healthy for all of 2020 and has a typical Green season, then there’s no reason the Bengals can’t fork over the cash he deserves.
After all, healthy Green will be Joe Burrow’s best friend.