A.J. Green is entering the last year of his deal, and it’s not off to a good start with the veteran wide receiver leaving practice today with an injury.
There hasn’t been a lot of hype about the Cincinnati Bengals entering the season, but if they are going to do well they’ll need a big year from A.J. Green. Green is entering the final year of his contract and needs to put up big numbers to get a new deal, so what happened at camp on Saturday isn’t ideal.
Shortly after appearing to injure his left foot/ankle making a contested catch, Green threw off his shoe and was talking angrily with team doctors before getting carted off. Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor didn’t have any updates after practice, but if Green is forced to miss any time it is a massive blow to the Bengals’ hopes this season.
Green has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL since he was drafted by the Bengals with the No. 3 overall pick in 2011, but he has been injury prone the past few years. After being limited to just 10 games in 2016, Green was healthy for all of 2017 but missed another seven games last season due to a toe injury.
Green is turning 31 years old on July 31, and his recent track record of injuries doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. If today’s foot issue turns into another long term absence, it could be problematic for Green, who needs to stay healthy and produce in order to justify a long term contract.
The Bengals recently extended Tyler Boyd, who was their No. 2 receiver a year ago, and were exploring the possibility of a new contract with Green before the injury occurred. Given how stingy the Bengals have been historically with their finances, they may not feel inclined to pay up for Green if he misses more time this year.
Green’s latest injury could end up costing him significant money if it proves serious, and other teams around the league may also be hesitant to give Green a big deal if he makes it to free agency next spring. Teams will probably inquire on a shorter term deal for Green with heavy incentives if things get that far, which would be a massively disappointing development for one of the NFL’s most productive receivers over the past decade.