The Bengals today designated WR A.J. Green as the team's franchise player, under terms of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. The team also extended tender offers to TE Cethan Carter, G Alex Redmond, DT Josh Tupou and S Brandon Wilson.
The franchise designation gives Green the option to sign with the Bengals for 2020 for a salary specified by a formula within the CBA.
Green is a free agent and will have the right to negotiate with other teams, but the franchise-player designation means that should he agree to terms with another team, the Bengals could retain him by matching the offer. Should the Bengals decline to match a competing offer, the team signing Green would be required to give the Bengals two first-round draft choices.
Green and the Bengals are still permitted to negotiate for a multi-year contract through July 15, either before or after Green might elect to sign the one-year franchise-player offer for 2020.
A 10th-year player in 2020, Green was originally a first-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2011, and has become one of the most productive receivers in team history. He currently stands second in Bengals history in career receptions (602) and receiving yards (8907), is tied for second in receiving TDs (63), and ranks first in 100-yard receiving games (33). Green, though, has been limited by injuries to just nine games over the last two seasons, and did not play at all in '19 due to an ankle injury suffered early in training camp.
"A.J. has been a big part of this team for a long time," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. "Now that he's healthy, I am excited to see what he will add to our offense this year."
The tender offers to Carter, Redmond, Tupou and Wilson — all fourth-year players in 2020 — will make those players restricted free agents (RFAs) on Wednesday when NFL free agency begins. As RFAs, they have the right to negotiate with other teams, but the Bengals have the right to retain them by matching any competing signed offers. If they do not sign with other teams, they can remain with the Bengals by signing their one-year tenders, or by negotiating longer-term contracts. The deadline for an RFA to sign an offer from another team is April 17. If an RFA has not signed an offer from another team by that date, his 2020 NFL rights revert exclusively to his '19 club.
Carter has played in 31 career games and has two catches for 13 yards and a TD, along with 16 tackles on special teams. Redmond has played in 23 career games, with 17 starts. He played in three games (two starts at RG) in 2019, before an elbow injury ended his season. Tupou has played in 23 career games (seven starts), and has 36 tackles and a forced fumble. Wilson has played in 36 career games (two starts), and has 20 tackles on defense and 20 on special teams. Last season, he served as the Bengals' No. 1 kickoff returner and averaged an NFL-best 31.3 yards per return (minimum 20 attempts).