A.J. Green holds all the cards in Cincinnati
The Bengals want to extend receiver A.J. Green’s contract, but they may not want to pay what it may take to make it happen.
Although Green’s base salary for 2019 sits at $11.976 million, his cap number drives the franchise tender. And at $15.176 million for 2019, that translates to a franchise tender for 2020 of $18.21 million.
So if the Bengals hope to extend Green before the 2019 season begins, he should expect to receive, fully guaranteed at signing, the sum of his 2019 and 2020 base salaries: $30.186 million. For anything less than that, he should play out his contract, force a franchise-tag decision in 2020, and play under the one-year tender unless the Bengals at that point would guarantee $18.21 million plus a 20-percent raise for 2021 ($21.852 million) at signing.
That’s $40.062 million, fully guaranteed at signing, if they do a long-term deal in 2020.
After eight seasons in Cincinnati with a ninth one looming, it’s also possible that Green simply wants to move on. Though he always says and does the right thing, he’s entitled to want to play for a team that will present him with a better chance to win a Super Bowl.
Currently, and quite frankly, the Bengals seem to be as far away from that goal as any team in the AFC.