A.J. Green Rumors: Bengals 'Currently Plan' to Use Franchise Tag on Star WR

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2020

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 22: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on during the game against the Miami Dolphins in the  second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals "currently plan" to use the franchise tag on veteran wide receiver A.J. Green, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano.

Speaking with Elise Jesse of WLWT in January, Green indicated the tag wouldn't be his optimal outcome this offseason but that he envisioned spending his entire career with the Bengals:

The franchise tag for a receiver is projected to be nearly $18.5 million, per Over the Cap.

Should the Bengals go that route, Green probably couldn't execute a Le'Veon Bell-like power play in search of a long-term deal. He missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury and was limited to nine games in 2018.

Because of how little he played the last two years, the franchise tag could work out in Green's favor, all things considered.

Assuming he stays healthy in 2020 and returns to his usual self, the 31-year-old would get paid like an elite pass-catcher for one season and enter free agency again having shown he can still deliver on the field too. Depending on its final form, terms of a new collective bargaining agreement might open the door for Green to make more money than he would've under the current CBA as well.

After finishing with the NFL's worst record (2-14), the Bengals probably won't contend for the playoffs in 2020 but are likely to be relying on a rookie quarterback. Many expect Cincinnati to select Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick, and the team had a positive meeting with the Heisman Trophy winner at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Having Green as part of the passing game would undoubtedly ease the transition to the NFL for Burrow or another young passer.