A.J. Green on free agency: 'Cincinnati is home ... I can’t see myself playing anywhere else'

Yahoo Sports Contributor
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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/24791/" data-ylk="slk:A.J. Green">A.J. Green</a> is entering the final year of his contract with the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/cincinnati/" data-ylk="slk:Bengals">Bengals</a>. (Getty Images)
A.J. Green is entering the final year of his contract with the Bengals. (Getty Images)

A.J. Green is entering the final year of his $60 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, and he’s hoping to stay around for a while longer.

Green is a recent father to a 2-year-old and a newborn, and he would like to raise them with his wife, Miranda, in Cincinnati.

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“Cincinnati is home for me,” Green said at his youth camp on Friday, via Fox19. “I’ve been here going on nine years. This is home as much as South Carolina. This is all I know, Cincinnati. I can’t see myself playing anywhere else or playing in any different city. Hopefully I can be here for a couple more years, but we’ll see on that part.”

Green’s position on his future is clear, and if he does land another contract, he could cement his place as the Bengals’ greatest receiver. He ranks second in franchise history in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and a few more seasons should allow him to pass Chad Johnson for all three records.

Do the Bengals want to keep Green around for a rebuild?

The good news for Green is that the Bengals appear ready to play ball on an extension. Team owner Mike Brown spoke to the media in late March and indicated he wanted to keep Green around beyond 2019.

"Oh, I think he's a proven commodity, isn't he? The price range for him will be something for him will be something we can figure out, will come together.

"It's true with anyone, if they suddenly get an injury that it reduces them. Well that changes the equation, but I never plan on that happening. I like to think that won't happen. If A.J. is healthy, he's as good a receiver as anybody in the league."

That Brown indicated he wanted to re-sign Green speaks volumes, especially considering the fact that he’s missed 13 games over the last three seasons due to various injuries. Brown said that he did not consider extending quarterback Andy Dalton before the season, so he, on the other hand, may not be long for black and orange.

If Dalton is out the door, the Bengals will likely have a rebuild on their hand, but they want Green around for their next contending team.

How much would Green’s next contract cost?

Like Brown said, Green is among the league’s best receivers when healthy, and the Bengals have plenty of cap room with more than $51 million heading into 2020. However, Green will turn 32 before the start of the 2020 season.

Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones is reported to be close to an extension worth nearly $20 million annually, but Green should not be in that territory. Green is currently one of nine players making $15 million annually and could return to that pay grade.

The bigger question is how much guaranteed money Green might cost. The last major contract for a 30-plus year old receiver was Antonio Brown's deal with $30.125 million guaranteed, so Brown figures to slot under there considering his comparative production and health.

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