The Cincinnati Bengals are one of two winless NFL teams entering Week 7, and all eyes will be on them as the Oct. 29 trade deadline approaches.
The Bengals need a roster re-tool, and one way to accelerate that process is trading veteran players for draft picks. One player the team should look to trade is wide receiver A.J. Green, who's in the final year of his contract and able to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season.
Green has missed all of the Bengals' six games this season because of an ankle injury. Any team interested in acquiring him would have the difficult task of predicting how quickly he could learn a new playbook and return to 100 percent physically. Green recently updated his status, and it doesn't sound like he'll be returning this weekend.
A.J. Green (ankle) says he still has “a little ways to go.” I don’t expect him to play Week 7 #Bengals— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) October 17, 2019
So, if the Bengals decide to trade Green, what would his value be?
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler recently spoke to some personnel employees around the league. The chances of Cincinnati getting a first-round pick for Green don't seem too high.
One NFC personnel evaluator I spoke to said, "Considering the recent injury history, I think [Cincinnati] can fetch a second-round pick for him," citing his immense talent as worthy of a Day 2 pick.
A few other personnel people agreed, adding that teams can always sweeten a deal with a fourth-to-fifth-round swap for future years. But the consensus is that he's not a first-round player right now unless a team gets aggressive. (Watch: The Rams will blow this thinking out of the water, offering three 1s and conditional Les Snead hair product.)
One team with an obvious need for a wide receiver is the New England Patriots.
Veteran wideouts Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett both have dealt with injuries in recent weeks. These injuries forced the Patriots to roll with Julian Edelman and two rookies (Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers) at wide receiver for the entire second half of last Thursday's Week 6 win over the New York Giants. Dorsett should return soon, but the depth and experience at the position remains unideal.
We also can't leave out the fact that New England is getting very little production in the passing game from the tight end position. Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse have combined for just 13 receptions, 169 receiving yards and one touchdown through six games. Injuries also are a factor here, as LaCosse is nursing a knee injury and Izzo reportedly was evaluated for a concussion Friday. Veteran tight end Benjamin Watson was re-signed on Tuesday, but at 38 years old, he shouldn't be expected to be a major force in the offense.
The Patriots are projected to have more than 10 picks (including compensatory selections) in the 2020 NFL Draft, giving them plenty of assets to make a trade before the deadline. Green is a great player when healthy, but his recent injury woes are a legitimate concern. That said, he's still a good trade target to pursue at the right price.
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