Maybe when Joe Burrow talked about having leverage, he meant over personnel decisions.
According to Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America, when Burrow met with the Bengals last week at the Scouting Combine he “made it clear” he wanted the team to retain free agent wide receiver A.J. Green.
The LSU quarterback did the best he could to extinguish the fires he and his family set regarding his interest in playing for Cincinnati, but conditions on that acceptance didn’t come up in his press conference.
They apparently did during his meeting with team officials Wednesday.
Reports indicate the Bengals plan to franchise tag the veteran wide receiver if they can’t sign him to a long-term deal, and while we’re talking about grudging acceptance in the face of limited options, Green has said it’s fine with him if they do.
If the Bengals keep Green and he’s healthy, Burrow would ostensibly have a decent cast of offensive skill position talent around him, with running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Tyler Boyd and the eternal hope that John Ross will be healthy and something other than fast.
But you can’t assume Green will be well or be there for long, as he missed all of last season and 23 of the last 32 games with injuries, and his comments about being tagged made it clear he didn’t think it was a reasonable pathway to a long-term deal.
“The franchise tag is not the best thing,” Green said. “But like I said, I’m not turning down 18 million dollars. It just happens. When you run a business, you have to make difficult decisions.
“But I feel like when you put that on me, then that’s what you’re showing me, you only want me for one year. And I always play with a chip on my shoulder.”
To call it an less-than-stable situation undersells it a bit, but this is the Bengals we’re talking about, and you don’t go 30 years without winning a playoff game by accident.