Confirmed by multiple sources now, A.J. Green is highly unlikely to report to the Cincinnati Bengals facility before the Oct. 29 trade deadline. In which case, Green may well have played his final snap in Cincy colours. There’s a few contributing factors at play here as to why his return date is being dragged out.
Following their loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Bengals are now 0-7 on the year. In what is now a loss season for sure, why would Green risk anything in returning from major ankle surgery. Bearing this kind of thing in mind, it should come as no surprise if teams come calling for Green’s number.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has told the press “we are not trading that guy”. Speculation however will continue to rumble until the trade deadline. Who should make a move?
Not even those within the 49ers building could have possibly foresaw this opening stanza of the season. Having most recently conquered the Washington Redskins in a rainy affair, they are now an impressive 6-0 on the year. It’s their stingy defence that is allowing 10.6 PPG making this possible.
A strong identity is forming with their run game too, they boast an impressive stable of backs who are capable of carrying the offence on their backs.
Perhaps then what is missing is star name in the passing game. Atop the WR depth chart currently is Marquise Goodwin, who has just the one TD to his name currently. A.J. Green would bring instant improvement the 49ers receiving corps. Pair him with the elusive tight end George Kittle and this would give opposing defences headaches in attempting to cover both.
It’s almost impossible to talk veteran receivers on the move without bringing up the Patriots. Throughout the year they have been looking to give Julian Edelman a reliable playmate on the opposite side. Supposed WR2 Josh Gordon has been very disappointing; so passes have been landing in the hands of Phillip Dorsett and the undrafted duo of Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski.
Make no mistake about it though, the Pats have been finding ways to win games, as their perfect record suggests. It’s fair to say however these wins have been largely attributed to their defence being utterly dominant. Maybe they can ride the crest of this defensive wave into the second half of the season, without additions to the offence.
Nonetheless, the addition of A.J. Green would give their offence something it doesn’t necessarily posses. A big-bodied red zone threat who certainly would be quick to earn the trust of Tom Brady. With this move, the offence should be able to return the compliment to their defensive colleagues.
A season that promised so much has been somewhat of a damp squib for the Eagles. Fresh off a prime-time humbling by a division rival, fingers are pointing out holes on this roster.
Most notably, the wide receiver position is in desperate need of an upgrade. A rather lacklustre Alshon Jeffrey hasn’t been able to get going; Carson Wentz could certainly use another pair of veteran hands to rely on. Similar with the aforementioned 49ers, this is a team with a passing attack that revolves around it’s tight end.
The ever reliable Zach Ertz paired with Jeffrey and Green certainly has the potential to cause a defensive nightmare. It’s a trio that would compliment each other for sure. The Eagles are no stranger to pulling the trade trigger, not one to rule out.
Facing stiff competition from all corners of the NFC, the Panthers could certainly benefit from upgrading their receiving corps. No question about it though, this offence runs through Christian McCaffrey. Game after game he is given a serious workload to deal with, it will be quite astonishing if he can keep level of play up all season long.
Speedster D.J. Moore tops the WR depth chart for the Panthers, with little in the way of a support cast. Curtis Samuel is a solid number two, but what is certainly missing from this group is a strong veteran. A void that could certainly be filled by A.J. Green. With $15 million in cap room, the scope is there to make a move.
Current MVP favourite Russell Wilson is playing some of his best football in a long while. He has cooked up quite the connection with Tyler Lockett, the now ‘hawks WR1, following the off-season retirement of Doug Baldwin. They addressed the Baldwin void via the draft with the selection D.K. Metcalf in round two.
The rookie out of Ole Miss has shown bright moments, albeit with some ball security issues. Outside of this pair, Wilson also has Jaron Brown and David Moore at his disposal, however they are both part time contributors. Adding A.J. Green would create a dynamic three pronged attack for the Seahawk’s passing game.
Most notably of all however, this is a team with a run first ethos. Therefore it would take a lot of push from both coaching and executive staff to pull off a deal here.
Will a trade happen at all?
Even if a trade fails to surface before Oct. 29, it’s hard to imagine A.J. Green remaining on the Bengals roster into 2020 and beyond. The 30-year old is in a contract year, he would be foolish not to assess his options as he enters the twilight phase of his career. Often praised for his loyalty it must be said, but a change of scenery and scheme is the best thing for Green’s career no question.