Bengals’ fans are well verse with A.J. Green and his time with the team. He is in the top three of every major all time receiving category for Cincinnati, which shows not only how great he has been but how long he has been with the team. When a young, rebuilding team is this early on, it isn’t uncommon to see some of the more established players make their way off the team. Many anticipate that to be the case for Green following this Week’s game with his one-year franchise tag set to come to an end making him a free agent.
Green doesn’t want to close the door on a possible return yet, though, according to Ben Baby of ESPN.
Bengals WR A.J. Green noncomittal on whether this will be his final game in Cincinnati. Said "anything is possible."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) December 31, 2020
Green has been more vocal over the past few seasons. It started when he called out the offense in 2017 for its poor start, but then it has extended to talking up head coach Zac Taylor early in 2019 and Joe Burrow earlier this season. It is clear that there doesn’t seem to be a sense of animosity from either side.
It is unfortunate that the main reason many view this as Green’s last time in stripes is because he has had some terrible luck with injuries the last few seasons. He missed seven games in 2018, the entire 2019 season and now he has either lost a step or has been playing with an undisclosed injury this season. Either way, the price he will likely demand won’t be one that the Bengals will be willing to match considering where there team is right now, which is just the harshness of the business.
The one possibility remaining for a return is that Green’s 2020 season has been far from what everyone is used to seeing. He has played in all 15 games so far, but he only has 47 catches, under 600 yards and two touchdowns on the year. While he is a big name, it is hard to believe teams will be willing to shell out the big bucks for a player coming off several injured seasons with that kind of performance. He will likely get a short-term prove it deal with a team. The big question will be whether he takes that deal with the Bengals who he has been his entire career who still look to be at least a few seasons away from actually being serious contenders, or will he take that deal with a contending team and try to go somewhere that Cincinnati has never taken him?
That is a question that Green and those close to him will know when free agency finally kicks off. What we all know right now is that one of the greatest players to put on a Bengals jersey will be doing it once again this Sunday, and all we can hope is that he is sent off right.