It is being reported that the Cincinnati Bengals first-round pick WR A.J. Green has signed a four-year deal with the club worth $19.6 million in guaranteed pay. This includes a $12.81 million signing bonus. Going No.4 overall, Green is the first of the top five draft picks to sign a contract and has given Bengals fans reason to smile, as he will be their first first-round pick to arrive on time since Johnathan Joseph in 2006. With the majority of Cincinnati's draft picks signed or in the process of doing so at the time of writing, Andy Dalton remains the noticeable exception.
With A.J. Green signing his name on the dotted line today, Chad Ochocinco speculation has been given a kick-start. Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer posted a blog this afternoon, commenting on a number of Twitter rumours that regarded sightings of No. 85 at Cincinnati Airport bound for Boston early this afternoon. At the time of writing, sources confirm that the rumours are true and Chad Ochocinco has been traded to the New England Patriots. ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that they have come to terms on a three-year deal. The Bengals will reportedly receive two late-round picks in return for the receiver, one in 2012 and the other in 2013.
Yet another Bengals player has added fuel to the Carson Palmer fire, with Jerome Simpson commenting on the situation earlier today
"It shouldn't be all about Carson, but about the team. There were a lot of people counting on him. I guess he's got his reasons for what he wants to do. I don't know what the inside scoop is on why he wants to leave, but he's letting us down."I love Carson to death. The only way I can describe it is he quit on us. I know he made his money, and we're trying to make ours. It's sad that he's doing this and wants to quit on us. We need him. It's a messed up situation, but we're going to move on with or without him."
Simpson saw success in the latter part of the 2010 season, during which the humble, hard-working receiver was widely regarded as the catalyst for Carson Palmer's better play against the likes of San Diego. Though not all Bengals have been as outspoken about the Palmer situation as Simpson, one might suggest that these fairly justified opinions he has expressed could well be the consensus within the Bengals locker-room.
The battle over Johnathan Joseph's services continues to rage on today, and will likely continue until Nnamdi Asomugha sets the price tag for cornerbacks. With the likes of Detroit, Tampa Bay, Houston and San Francisco competing with the Bengals for him, Joseph is likely to have a multitude of offers on the table at the time of writing. Bengals fans have reason to stay hopeful, as the team made re-signing Joseph a No.1 priority this week, with Joseph already expressing a desire to return. We will have to wait and see if money talks.
It has also been reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Bengals have reached a deal to bring former Oakland Raiders Linebacker Thomas Howard to Cincinnati. Howard has agreed to a two-year, $6.5 million deal. His signing may well spell the end for Dhani Jones and Brandon Johnson, with Rey Maualuga taking Jones' spot at middle linebacker and Johnson likely to look elsewhere with the hope of starting.
The Bengals also released their training camp schedule today. For those interested in traveling down to Georgetown, you can see it HERE.