A.J. Green was carted off the field during the first day of Bengals training camp with what seemed to be a lower left leg injury. Reports are coming out that Green suffered torn ligaments in his ankle and could miss 6-8 weeks. With a little more than a month left until the NFL season starts, Green will likely miss the Bengals tough Week 1 matchup with the Seahawks in Seattle.
A.J. Green Injury: Analysis
Green, who has seen two of his last three seasons cut short by injury, is entering a contract year, but he has the potential to be one of the highest-paid receivers in the league, but his recent injury must be acknowledged by the Bengals organization. In 2016, a week 11 hamstring tear landed him on the IR and ended his season. In 2018, a lingering toe injury caused him to miss seven games. Now, this ankle ligament tear will likely make that three out of the past four seasons cut short by injury.
The Bengals decision on re-signing Green is obviously contingent on how the 2019 season goes, but here are a few reasons as to why he may or may not be re-signed.
Why Green Will Be Re-Signed
He is one of the best receivers in the league when healthy and has spent his whole career in Cincinnati. He is loved by the fans and Andy Dalton, as Green is his favorite target by a wide margin. The Bengals lack of receiving depth is worth noting, as Tyler Boyd, their second wide receiver option, is the only other wide receiver on the team who has shown significant play-making ability and because of that just got signed to a four-year, $43 million dollar deal. John Ross is also an option but has yet to live up to the expectations that come with being a first-round pick and like Green, is also struggling to stay healthy. With limited options beyond fellow starting receiver Boyd, the Bengals would be smart to keep Green and continue to let him build a legacy in Cincinnati
Why Green Being Re-Signed Is Not Guaranteed
The Bengals organization resists change, as can be seen with the head coaching tenure that Marvin Lewis had. So, while it is likely Green will stay in a Bengals uniform, there are a few reasons why it might not happen, starting with his previously mentioned injury concerns.
His injuries are adding up, and it could be that the Bengals see Green as too risky an investment for the amount of money they are going to have to pay him. Beyond his injury concerns, this season for the Bengals could also dictate where they see the future of this team going. Andy Dalton is in a “make or break” year and if he does not prove himself, the Bengals and new head coach Zac Taylor could opt for a fresh offensive core by moving on from Dalton and Green.
As for the present, this is an obvious blow for the Bengals. While hopefully, he will miss minimal regular-season action, the Bengals will now look to Tyler Boyd as the top receiving option, with John Ross, Alex Erickson, and Cody Core likely being the next best options to step up. Tight end Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah are also candidates to help out the passing game.
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