A.J. Green 'Prepared for Anything' Ahead of Deadline amid Trade Rumors

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2019

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 11: Injured receiver A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals is seen during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Paul Brown Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Saints won 51-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have started the season 0-5, and with trade rumors swirling, a firesale could be on the horizon for the floundering Bengals.

But veteran wide receiver A.J. Green—who has yet to play this season due to an injured ankle suffered during training camp—is just trying to go about his recovery and isn't sweating the trade deadline.

"I tell everybody I haven't heard anything," he said, per Geoff Hobson of the team's website. "I don't fantasize about anything like that. I'm just trying to get healthy and go from there."

He added: "I'm prepared for anything. A trade's not going to change who I am. I'm still going to play. I'm still going to be A.J."

The Bengals could potentially get an excellent return for Green if they put him on the trade block.

As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported on Oct. 6: "Rival general managers I spoke to agreed that the Bengals could get a first-round pick for Green, 31, if the acquiring team was able to negotiate a new deal for him and if Green returns from his foot injury soon. It is highly unlikely that Green signs an extension with the Bengals, I'm told."

But Green made it sound as though he wants to finish his career in Cincinnati.

"I want the team records. I want more Pro Bowls. I want all that so when I leave there is going to be a standard," he said. "I still want the yardage, I still want the touchdowns."

He also previously raised the example of Larry Fitzgerald, who has spent 16 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, as a career he would like to emulate.

"Yeah, you always want that," he told Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. "Nobody will ever value you more than the guys that drafted you. You want to leave a legacy. For him, he is the Arizona Cardinals legend. He can do anything he wants in the state of Arizona and people are going to stay behind him."

But Green will hit unrestricted free agency after the 2019 season, and with the playoffs almost certainly out of the question for the Bengals, the team would be wise to at least consider stockpiling draft picks and undergoing a thorough rebuild. The team still has talented, younger receivers in Tyler Boyd and John Ross III, so they wouldn't be devoid of weapons in the passing game without Green.

It would be the end of an era, no doubt. Green has spent his full nine-year career with the Bengals, registering 602 receptions for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns. He's a seven-time Pro Bowler and has consistently been Cincy's best offensive weapon. 

So if the Bengals keep their decorated wideout, much like the Cardinals have held onto Fitzgerald all these years, it would hardly be a surprise. But if they dealt him in an effort to bolster their rebuilding efforts, it would also be a logical choice.