One player is among the best at his position in the NFL. The other is a mediocre quarterback that is prepared to begin what promises to be a make-or-break season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
It stands to reason that Cincinnati would look to lock up young wide receiver A.J. Green before quarterback Andy Dalton. But that’s just on the surface.
Cincinnati picked up Green’s $10 million option for 2015 earlier this offseason and doesn’t necessarily have to worry about him at any time in the near future. For his part, Green completely understands (via Bengals.com).
I think I’m on the backburner just because of the option. That’s fine with me…I don’t even look at it like that. I just go out there and play and my time will come. It’s not surprising. Teams always want to wait…I’m fine with my option and my $10 million. I’ll take it.
Green likely isn’t worried because that $10 million option is guaranteed for injury. The young receiver has tallied 260 receptions for 3,833 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons. The former No. 4 overall pick has also seen his receptions and yards increase in each of his first three years in the league.
On the other hand, Dalton continues to draw criticism for being unable to lead the Bengals to a playoff victory in his first three seasons with the team. The former second-round pick boasts a 30-18 regular season record and has thrown 80 touchdowns in 48 career games. The issue here is that Dalton is 0-3 with one touchdown and six interceptions in the playoffs.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 10, 2014
Green will be the first person to take some of the responsibility off Dalton for the Bengals’ lack of playoff success.
A lot of people give him crap about not winning a playoff game, but we’ve made the playoffs the last three seasons,” Green said. “We’ve won 10 or more games (twice). Playoff games…we’re still young. I feel like we’re going to win them, it just takes time.
Dalton will be a free agent following the 2014 season and is set to count only $1.7 million against the cap this year. Even if he doesn’t improve a great deal from past playoff failures, the young quarterback will be due a substantial raise next offseason. This means the Bengals will have a decision to make long term.
The quarterback has hinted that he’s willing to take a year-by-year contract from the Bengals, similar to what Colin Kaepernick signed with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this offseason (via ESPN.com).
You have to have confidence in yourself that you’re going to be able to do things and that’s what he did…He’s confident enough where he’s going to be able to play out the whole contract and he’s going to be able to earn everything. So for me, I feel the same way. I feel confident with what I’m able to do.
Even then, the Bengals might want to wait to see how the 2014 season plays out before committing the type of guaranteed money (while not on the same level) as what Kaepernick received in San Francisco. At the very least, Cincinnati knows that it has a young receiver that seems content to let it deal with the quarterback situation before turning its attention to him.