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

The Bengals are looking to retain their top receiver for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green participates in drills during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are using their franchise tag on wide receiver A.J. Green, according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero. The news comes a couple hours before the NFL’s free agency negotiation period is set to begin at noon ET.

Green missed the entire season due to an ankle injury suffered on the first day of the Bengals’ training camp. This came a year after he missed seven games due to torn ligaments in his toe. He finished the 2018 season with career lows of 46 receptions and 694 yards, with six touchdowns. He played a full 16 games in 2017 and 2015, but has had missed time otherwise dating back to 2014.

After injuring his ankle in training camp, we kept hearing updates for the first half of the season that suggested he might make it back. However, around the team’s bye week he suffered some kind of setback after returning to some on-field action and never returned.

There is no reason to think he’ll hold out at this point without a new deal, and if he does return at 100 percent, it will be a big boost for likely first round pick Joe Burrow. The Bengals are expected to draft the LSU quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick and will look to boost their weapons around him.