With Julio Jones being the latest star receiver to sign a contract extension this summer, joining Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas and T.Y. Hilton, all eyes turn to the Bengals’ A.J. Green. The 27-year-old has been one of the best playmakers in the league since the Bengals took him in the first round of the 2011 draft and is a season away from potentially becoming a free agent.
The deals awarded to Jones, Bryant, Thomas and Hilton (all five-year accords worth $70-plus million with guarantees ranging from $39MM to $47MM) have set the market for Green, according to CBS Sports’ Joel Corry – who tweets that guaranteed money will be a sticking point for the two sides. Corry added in another tweet that the Bengals don’t guarantee base salary in veteran deals, so they might have to compromise by giving Green the biggest signing bonus in franchise history.
Jones’ extension will kick in next season, which means he’ll play 2015 under the same one-year, $10.18MM option as Green. Considering that, Jones’ contract is more relevant to Green than the ones given to Bryant, Thomas and Hilton, per Corry (Twitter link). Green’s numbers compare favorably to those of Jones, who has added 249 catches and 26 touchdowns in 49 regular-season games. Green has been more durable, appearing in 60 regular-season games, and more productive (329 receptions and 35 scores). He also has outpaced Jones in 1,000-yard seasons (four to two) and Pro Bowl nods (again, four to two). Add all of that up and the likelihood is that the Bengals will have to give Green a richer deal than Jones’ in order to keep him.
Here’s more from the AFC:
- Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert tore his ACL last season and has been working toward a return since. While it’s unlikely Albert will be ready for Week 1, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald doesn’t rule it out (Twitter link). On the other hand, ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets that Albert probably won’t return until Week 3.
- Broncos guard Evan Mathis – whom the team signed earlier this week – is on track for the opener, Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports (Twitter link).
- Denver’s Week 1 opponent, the Ravens, will definitely be without Matt Elam, Brent Urban and Lorenzo Taliaferro, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
- In the unlikely event Seattle trades linebacker Bruce Irvin before the season, Ryan O’Halloran doesn’t expect the Jaguars to acquire the three-year veteran. Jags general manager David Caldwell isn’t one to trade picks in the first three rounds, tweeted O’Halloran – who added that Irvin’s contract status (one year before free agency) makes the chances of an acquisition even more remote for Jacksonville.