A.J. Green didn't play a snap in 2019 and is set to be a free agent. But the star wideout isn't likely to get to the open market.
The Cincinnati Bengals are fully expected to use the franchise tag on Green if a long-term deal can't be reached, to ensure their top target remains for the rookie quarterback expected to be imported with the No. 1 overall pick to work with in 2020.
In an interview with Tyler Dragon and Lindsay Patterson on the 'Bengals Beat Podcast,' coach Zac Taylor reiterated that Green is a player the Bengals "want to be around."
"He's a guy that we're excited about to have part of this team, first and foremost. That's what matters right now," Taylor said, via The Score. "As we go through the offseason, we'll figure out how it best fits. But right now, we expect him to be a part of the team. We want him to be a part of the team.
"He's certainly been a valuable member for the last couple years and done some great things. I'm excited to coach him, really for the first time this next season."
The 31-year-old wideout has played just nine games the past two seasons and missed 29 contests the past four years. Given the health issues, a one-year franchise tag could benefit both parties.
If Green returns healthy and back to Pro Bowl form in 2020, the Bengals would sport a great WR duo along with Tyler Boyd, and a dynamic running game with Joe Mixon. If the young offensive linemen can stay healthy and improve, that group should be better too. The weapons should be there for a rookie QB to have a good opening-year campaign if Green is back to being a field-tilting menace.