A.J. Green deserves credit for the loyalty he’s shown to the Bengals, but the talented wideout needs to leave Cincinnati if he wants to win a Super Bowl.
It’s very rare in this day and age for a professional athlete to spend his entire career with one franchise. That’s exactly what A.J. Green’s trying to do with the Bengals. Unfortunately, the star wide receiver’s loyalty to the team that drafted him might cost him the chance to win a Super Bowl before the end of his career.
Green deserves credit for his desire to see his entire career out with the Bengals. He recently told local media that he can’t see himself “playing anywhere else.” That’s particularly important since Green is in the final year of his current contract. It’s obvious that he wants a new deal from Cincinnati.
While it’s understandable that Green wants to stay in his comfort zone, re-signing with the Bengals isn’t going to represent a good career choice for the 31-year-old wide receiver. Any player nearing the end of his prime without a Super Bowl title on his resume should be paying a lot of attention to the immediate prospects of the team he signs with. The future in Cincinnati simply isn’t that bright.
Bengals supporters hope that first-year head coach Zac Taylor can breathe some life into the moribund franchise, but no one really knows if he has what it takes to be a successful NFL coach. Even if he does, it’s very likely the team is going to make a change at quarterback sooner, rather than later. Andy Dalton’s contract makes it easy for Cincinnati to move on from him after the conclusion of this season. Unless Dalton turns in a Pro Bowl season for the Bengals you can expect Taylor to make a move to bring in a younger, more talented signal caller.
That might be the best move for the franchise in the long-run, but it isn’t a decision that will give Green the best chance to win big in the next several seasons. That’s why he needs to think long and hard about going elsewhere when free agency arrives.
There certainly won’t be a shortage of interested suitors if/when he hits the open market. Contenders will be falling all over themselves to sign one of the NFL’s most productive wide receivers. Green is a player who is going to get a big contract no matter where he goes after this season.
In the end, Green may be forced to make a decision on what he prioritizes most. If playing his entire career in one city is how he wants to be remembered then he should commit several more seasons to the Bengals. If he wants to retire as a Super Bowl champion, he will need to leave the Queen City.