A.J. Green is among the greatest players in Bengals history, but he may not be in Cincinnati much longer. Green’s name has been publicly floated in trade rumors for a year.
A.J. Green has had a great career with the Bengals
A.J. Green lived up to the Bengals’ expectations, and maybe more, when they used the fourth overall pick on him in 2011. Although Green has never made a Pro Bowl, he earned Pro Bowl honors in his first seven seasons and helped the Bengals to five playoff berths.
Green enters 2020 with 602 career catches for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4 Green added 18 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown in four playoff games.
Football-Reference’s Approximate Value system measures A.J. Green has been worth 80 AV. That ranks 15th in Bengals history behind the likes of nose tackle Tim Krumrie (81), running back James Brooks (82), and receiver Issac Curtis (84).
With a strong 2020 season, Green could move past all three and jump into the top-12. That is, if A.J. Green plays next season in a Bengals uniform.
The Bengals should consider trading Green
There are two sides to a potential A.J. Green trade, the first being his possible place as a veteran weapon for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. Green averaged 15.1 yards per carry in nine games two years ago, which was his highest average since 2015.
However, the Bengals still have Tyler Boyd and rookie Tee Higgins, so it’s not like the team is sending Burrow out there with no weapons.
Interestingly, this situation is similar to the Bengals’ decision to trade Chad Johnson/Ochocinco in 2011. The Bengals had a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton and a first-year receiver in A.J. Green, so an aging Ochocinco became expendable.
A.J. Green is due $17.9 million this year. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next spring.
The Patriots are the perfect fit for A.J. Green
When the Cincinnati Bengals placed Chad Ochocinco on the trade market in 2011, it was the New England Patriots who acquired the former Pro Bowler.
Could the Patriots make a similar move for A.J. Green if Green is available. As crasy as the move sounds, it’s one that makes sense for all three parties.
First, Cincinnati can take the proactive step in what may become an ugly divorce. The relationship between Green and the Bengals took some hits last year and it stands to get even rockier.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor has gone on the record and said the team won’t trade Green. But if the right opportunity presents itself for all sides, Taylor may need to go back on his word.
A.J. Green does not have a no-trade clause in his current contract. The Bengals placed the franchise tag on him earlier this year.
A trade to the Patriots, a team that can still compete for an AFC East Division title in 2020, makes sense for everyone. Green is a pricy one-year option, but he would give Jarrett Stidham an excellent weapon opposite Julian Edelman.
It is worth noting the Chad Ochocinco trade went poorly for him and the Patriots. However, Ochocinco was an eccentric player who didn’t fit the Patriots’ culture.
Green, on the other hand, is a responsible player with something to prove after injuries. He’d be a perfect fit for what the Patriots want, and need, to contend in 2020.
A.J. Green had a great run in Cincinnati and it may not be over yet. But if it is, Bill Belichick and the Patriots should make the first call for Green’s services.
- All stats and salaries courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference