Last year, A.J. Green missed the entire season thanks to a foot injury. Last month, the Bengals cuffed him with the franchise tag anyway. Fortunately, the wide receiver appears to be “fully healthy,” according to head coach Zac Taylor.
“Everything’s been positive with A.J.,” Taylor said in a virtual presser on Wednesday. “He’s fully healthy and is working hard. He’s been in Atlanta. It’s all been positive in that regard.”
The franchise tag will pay Green roughly $18MM in 2020, a steep price given Green’s age and questions about his foot. As he looks ahead to his 32nd birthday in July, Green is preparing to prove himself all over again.
Meanwhile, Green has been vocally opposed to playing on the franchise tag. It remains to be seen whether he’ll get the long-term deal that he wants – he’s been largely unstoppable throughout his career, but the Bengals may be fearful of committing major dollars to him beyond 2020.
“I have no problem with the franchise (tag). I don’t like it, but I’m not a guy that’s going to sit out the whole year,” Green said in December. “But at the end of the day, that shows me they’re not committed to me. That’s fine. They have a business they have to run. As the player I have my own business, so if you do that I have to protect myself.”
“If you’re not committed to me long-term, I understand. There are no hard feelings. You have a business to run. All great businesses face difficult decisions. I understand that. For me, I have to make a big decision as well.”
Green qualified for the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven NFL seasons and he’s tallied more than 1,000 yards in every campaign with at least 13 games played. He’s also gone for double-digit touchdowns in three separate seasons with a career average of almost 15 yards per catch.
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