Why the Cincinnati Bengals Would Seriously Regret Trading A.J. Green

The Cincinnati Bengals have had a tough go of it in 2019. One of the main reasons they’ve struggled is due to the absence of wide receiver A.J. Green. There’s been speculation that the Bengals may look to trade Green as this season looks more and more lost. Here’s why that’s a mistake. 

A.J. Green’s career achievements

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The Bengals selected Green with the fourth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Here are his career achievements to this point: 

  • 111 games played
  • 602 catches 
  • 8,908 yards receiving 
  • Seven-time Pro Bowl selection
  • 63 touchdowns 
  • 14.8 yards per catch 
  • 80.2 yards per game 

While Green has been one of the most productive Bengals, it hasn’t lead to much success for the team. They haven’t won a playoff game during his tenure. He’s also played in all 16 games only four times. 

The Bengals’ 2019 season so far

At 0-6, things literally couldn’t be going worse in Cincinnati. No team short of the Miami Dolphins currently has a worse outlook on the season. Here are the Bengals’ results so far: 

  • Seattle Seahawks, 21-20
  • San Francisco 49ers, 41-17 
  • Buffalo Bills, 21-17 
  • Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-3 
  • Arizona Cardinals, 26-23
  • Baltimore Ravens, 23-17 

The Bengals’ best bets to get a win this season? Games against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Otherwise, it will be tough sledding. The team is so hopeless, rumor has it they may have made Green available via trade. 

The A.J. Green trade rumors

To hear Bengals’ coach Zac Taylor tell it, Cincinnati isn’t going to trade A.J. Green. Apparently, Green also doesn’t want to go anywhere, either. When asked about it, here’s what he had to say: 

“I’d just like to stay here,” Green said, per Pro Football Talk. “They value me. Nobody is going to value you as much as the place you got drafted at. It’s home.” 

Green’s words are probably music to the ears of Bengals fans. And of course, the head coach isn’t going to publicly admit to wanting to deal his star receiver. But if a team were to make a compelling offer for Green, Cincinnati would have to listen.

With this season looking like a lost cause, they may receive an offer too good to refuse. Plenty of contending teams could use a playmaker as strong as Green. A coach like Bill Belichick, who understands the value of great players like Green, would probably make a pretty strong offer. As much as the Bengals may be tempted, they need to turn all the offers for Green down. 

Why the Bengals would seriously regret trading A.J. Green

Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was asked about the possibility of the team dealing Green. He was strongly against it. Here’s what Kirkpatrick said about the possibility of a pre-trade deadline deal involving the Bengals shipping A.J. Green out of Cincy: 

“‘I feel like it’s going to fall apart,” he said. “You can’t do it. You can’t do it, man. That’s our best player on the team. He’s not even out there. So, we don’t even know what we got, how the team really looks. They can’t do that. They can’t … I’m a team player first, I rally around my guys and that would really hurt my spirit if we see him walk out the door.'” 

Kirkpatrick raises a solid point: it’s hard to evaluate the Bengals when they’re missing their best player. And as bad as they’ve been, dealing Green hardly seems like a good idea if the goal is to get better — at least in the short term. 

Green is a foundational-type player. He’s the type of asset a rebuilding team needs in place to build around. Trading him wouldn’t just be short-sighted. It would be almost impossible to get equal value back for a player of his caliber. The Bengals can shake up the roster, but this isn’t the move to make.