With Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and T.Y. Hilton all set to play on new contracts this year, A.J. Green is the last notable extension candidate at the wide receiver position without a new deal of his own. However, all signs point to the Bengals and Green pushing hard to get something done before the team’s regular season opener.
Coley Harvey of ESPN.com reported this afternoon that talks between the Bengals and Green had “picked up,” with the two sides seemingly moving closer to an agreement. Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link) agreed that the “extension rumblings” are picking up for Green, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeting that the two sides are working hard to finalize a new contract.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) continues to hear that Green’s camp would like to beat Jones’ deal, which would make the Bengals’ star the second-highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. However, La Canfora isn’t sure Cincinnati will be willing to budge that far. The team is typically reluctant to give out significant guaranteed money on contract extensions, with even quarterback Andy Dalton getting a modest $17MM guarantee on his new $96MM deal last year. Jones received $35.5MM in guaranteed money on his five-year, $71.25MM extension with the Falcons.
Green, who would play out the season on his $10.176MM fifth-year option if he doesn’t sign a new contract, has made four consecutive Pro Bowls since entering the league as the fourth overall pick out of Georgia in 2011. After catching 97 balls in 2012 and 98 in 2013, Green was slowed down last year with injuries, finishing with 1,041 yards and six touchdowns on 69 receptions. With the 2015 season about to get underway, the 27-year-old looks healthy and poised for a big year.