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Report: Bengals could place franchise tag on A.J. Green

The Bengals are willing to do whatever they can to maintain A.J. Green for 2020.

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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green on the field prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Green has put himself in a precarious situation after informing the Cincinnati Bengals that he likely won’t play in the final two games of the season.

The ninth-year wideout hasn’t played a snap this year because of an ankle injury and could be franchise tagged if he can’t agree to terms for a long-term deal with the Bengals, according to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer, which cites unidentified league sources.

Green has already made it clear that he doesn’t want to be tagged and prefers to seek a lucrative deal that would see him paid an amount on par with the elite pass catchers of the NFL. He told the Bengals official website that he would not hold out all season if tagged, but he did not know exactly when he would report.

“I have no problem with the franchise (tag). I don’t like it, but I’m not a guy that’s going to sit out the whole year,” Green said. “But at the end of the day, that shows me they’re not committed to me. That’s fine. They have a business they have to run. As the player I have my own business, so if you do that I have to protect myself.

“If you’re not committed to me long-term, I understand. There are no hard feelings. You have a business to run. All great businesses face difficult decisions. I understand that. For me, I have to make a big decision as well.”

Green is closing out the final leg of a four-year, $60 million contract he signed with Cincinnati in 2015. Since being drafted by the Bengals in 2011 Green has amassed 602 receptions for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns. He has been named a Pro Bowl player seven times.

Cincinnati has struggled tremendously in his absence, posting a league-worst 1-13 record. It will finish out 2019 on the road, as it will take on the Dolphins and Browns in Weeks 15 and 16. Whether we’ll see Green in a Bengals uniform for another season remains to be seen.