Bengals owner Mike Brown knows he’s going to have to spend some money soon.
But he admitted Sunday he’s going to take his time doing a long-term deal with A.J. Green, while he focuses on a possible-but-not-certain new contract for quarterback Andy Dalton.
Brown told Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the team planned to use the fifth-year option on wide receiver A.J. Green, which will lock him in through the 2015 season at the level of the transition tag ($10.176 million for wide receivers).
“A.J. has one difference, you can tender him,” Brown said. “That takes a big chunk of money. He’d probably get it anyway. It keeps him on the reservation, he’s not going to be leaving. He’s going to be here for not one more year but two more years. Even though we haven’t tendered him yet our intention is to do that and put ourselves in position to turn to others such as Dalton and we would like to turn to a couple more as well.
“We would like to get something long term but at least we know with A.J. we have two years. With some of the others we have one year.”
Dalton’s the first of the others, as the quarterback’s contract expires after this season, and they don’t have the reasonable option year device to sit on him. Brown admitted the team’s going to have to make hard choices as it pertains to the quarterback deal.
“We are going to try to get something done but I don’t know if we are going to be able to or not,” Brown said of Dalton. “At some point we are going to have to do something more than just let everyone else leave waiting to get something done with that situation. We held back this year trying to put ourselves in a position to get him done. If it turns out it can’t be made to work we will do something elsewhere. I don’t think we plan to go another year the way we did this year.”
The Bengals weren’t able to keep former franchise player Michael Johnson this offseason, and overcommitting to Dalton will keep them from hanging onto other parts of a young core.
Deciding whether he’s worth it or not is another call Brown’s going to have to make, and unlike Green, he doesn’t have the luxury of two years to make it.