Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

NFL

Cincinnati Bengals: Why A.J. Green should quit the Bengals

Bengals
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

The Cincinnati Bengals squandered yet another golden opportunity. They walked into Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field Monday night facing a winless Steelers squad giving up 442 yards and 28.3 points per game. It was the Bengals’ chance to make a statement against a longtime division bully. Instead, they mustered just 175 total yards on offense and 3 points in a 27-3 shellacking.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finished 21-37 for 171 yards and two turnovers, including an interception and a fumble (a second fumble was recovered by the Bengals). While he was sacked eight times, that can’t always be the default excuse for losing. Last year Texans QB Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-leading 62 times and Houston still won the AFC South.

Same old culture

No, the sacks are simply an allegory for a systemic problem within the Bengals organization. Bengals fans are all too familiar with the scenario. They’ve been watching it since 1991 when Mike Brown took control of the team. Another high-profile primetime matchup, another embarrassing performance. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. 

Last week I wrote about the potential for Cincinnati to change the culture created under Marvin Lewis with a win Monday night. The loss in Pittsburgh shows that despite the head man on the sideline, it still matters who sits in the owner’s box. The Bengals were consistently losing important games long before former Lewis arrived. If Monday was any indication, they’ll be losing important games long after he’s gone. For fans, it can be miserable. For players, it is their livelihood.

Eroding reputation

Which brings us to wide receiver A.J. Green. Until this season, his entire career has been tethered to both Dalton and Lewis. Green was once considered one of the best receivers in the game. Over the years, however, the Bengals hardships have slowly eroded that recognition. The numbers don’t lie. Since 2014 Green has topped 1,100 yards just once. In four career playoff games, he’s never topped 80 yards receiving and has just one touchdown.

Green will be 32 at the start of the 2020 season and the injuries are starting to add up. Since 2016 he’s missed 17 of a possible 52 games due to injury, with more to come this season. Green’s most recent injury, torn ankle ligaments, occurred when playing on a practice field littered with “rocks and pebbles” according to teammate Tyler Boyd. It’s a scary realization that the team is not that far from the days it recycled jockstraps to save money.

What’s next?

There has been plenty of speculation from fans and pundits about how the team should proceed with Green. I would argue that it’s Green that holds all the cards, and the rest of his career is at stake. Rather than coming back for a lost season, it’s not absurd to ask to be put on the shelf for the remainder of the year.

Asking for a trade is another option, though it is unlikely. It’s just not inherently in the Bengals DNA. Mike Brown doesn’t like change, so calls to trade away veterans for draft capital are unrealistic. Remember, Brown was ready to let franchise quarterback Carson Palmer retire rather than trade him, even if it meant getting nothing in return. The team eventually received an offer from the Raiders they couldn’t refuse.

Brown’s belligerence means Green’s future is likely in his own hands. One option is to come back to a potentially winless team and play out his contract. In doing so, he risks putting his body and future earnings on the line for team ownership that time and time again has proven it has no interest in anything other than turning a profit. The other option is to call it a day in Cincinnati and look forward to 2020 with a new team. If I’m Green, I take a page from Palmer’s old playbook and tell the team he’s done sacrificing his health and well being while getting nothing in return. 

 

Travis Yates is a writer for PFN covering the Cincinnati Bengals. He is also a co-host of the Fantasy Fixers Podcast, a feature of the PFN Podcast Network. You can follow him @TheTravisYates on Twitter.

Advertisement
PFN Mock Draft Simulator
Advertisement

NFL Mock Draft

NFL Draft

In our latest first-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, we take a look at what teams may be thinking as we transition towards the Senior...

NFL Power Rankings

NFL

After ranking all 32 teams in our End of Regular Season (Week 17) NFL Power Rankings, we have a better idea of who the...

NFL Recap

NFL

Mike Tanier dissects the players to watch and key elements to the Rams vs. Packers Divisional Round tilt in the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs.

Trending Articles on PFN

NFL Draft

Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline releases his first big board update of 2021, including player rankings of all NFL Draft-eligible prospects.

NFL

Who plays NFL football today? Here's a look at the two matchups for the Divisional Round, according to the NFL Games today TV Schedule.

NFL

As a number of NFL teams are without a head coach, here are the latest news and rumors of these vacancies in our 2021...

NFL

With four games scheduled to play this weekend, the Divisional Round of the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs feature some fantastic storylines.