A.J. Green has not played a game since Dec. 2, 2018. He has not earned Pro Bowl honors since 2017 when he played his last full season.
Having played only nine games the past two seasons, and set to become a free agent next month, the receiver’s value likely is greater to the Bengals than to another team.
“He’s a guy we want to be around,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said on a cincinnati.com podcast posted Thursday.
Green previously said he wouldn’t “turn down $18 million” on the franchise tag. That’s exactly what the Bengals are expected to do if they can’t reach a long-term deal with Green, and perhaps, based on Green’s recent injury history, it turns into a win-win for both sides.
The franchise tag would give the Bengals a chance to see if Green can stay healthy, without a long-term commitment, and it would give Green a chance to prove it and re-enter free agency in 2021 looking for even more money.
The bottom line is: Green is not expected to hit free agency.
“We’re still working through that process,” Taylor said. “He’s a guy that we are excited about to a part of this team, first and foremost. That’s what matters right now. As we go through the offseason, we’ll figure out how it best fits. But right now, we expect him to be a part of the team. We want him to be a part of the team. He’s certainly been a valuable member for the last couple of years and done some great things. I’m excited to coach him really for the first time this next season.”