Bengals A.J. Green during game against Patriots
Dec 2, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) warms up prior to a game against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals know that star receiver A.J. Green is integral to their offense’s success for the upcoming season. While he will be on the field in 2020, though, Green’s future in Cincinnati might now be in greater doubt.

A.J. Green expected to play under the franchise tag

Cincinnati began its offseason by immediately placing the franchise tag on A.J. Green. Determined to keep the All-Pro receiver under contract, the Bengals guaranteed that he would return for the 2020 NFL season.

While the offense could surprise people in 2020, the team could now be at risk of losing Green next offseason. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Green is expected to sign his franchise tender then play out the season under the tag.

“They expect that he’ll play this year under the tag,” Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter, (H/T Bleacher Report). “It’s sort of a feeling-out period for both parties because Green practiced all but five minutes last year with various injuries, including a foot issue, and so they still consider him one of the best wide receivers when healthy. They know he’s ready to go right now and finally healed up, so maybe a one-year pact is best for both parties.”

Green played in just nine games during the 2018 NFL season then dealt with more injuries during training camp in 2019. Ultimately, he missed the entire season after undergoing ankle surgery during the summer.

By placing the franchise tag on Green, which will give him $17.8 million, the Bengals had until July 15 to negotiate a contract extension with him. Ultimately, it is in Green’s best interests to prove he is healthy this year and can thrive with Joe Burrow.

A seven-time pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro, another dominant season from Green would put him in a great position to cash in next offseason.

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick