A.J. Green will miss another game this week, and may wind up sitting out the entire season, so why didn’t the Cincinnati Bengals just trade him?
When A.J. Green first injured his left ankle in late-July, early optimism eventually evolved into beyond a 6-8 week return timeline. The October went by, including the trade deadline of course, and the Bengals had their bye in Week 9.
This week brought optimism Green would make his season Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. He had been expected to practice on Wednesday, but he ultimately didn’t and on Thursday he essentially declared himself out due to swelling in his ankle.
The Bengals surely got some interest in Green heading into the trade deadline, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reporting teams were willing to give up a first-round pick if he was made available. But there were some inherent doubts from unnamed sources that Cincinnati was willing to make any deals, one involving Green clearly included.
Green is also 31 years old and in a contract year, with injury history that will now limit him to 10 or less in three of the last four season. At 0-8 now, the Bengals are the league’s only remaining winless team. With a bye week decision to bench quarterback Andy Dalton in favor of rookie Ryan Finley, winning games is no longer a priority under first-year head coach Zac Taylor. Cashing in veteran assets for draft picks would have been a nice idea before Oct. 29.
Green has openly said he won’t be playing if he’s not 100 percent, and why would he take the field for an 0-8 team if he’s not fully healthy. At this point, why would he take the field at all this season?
Perhaps, if the Bengals were a savvy organization with multiple people in positions of real input, they would have already shut Green down for the season as his recovery wore on longer than expected. Or they surely would have seriously entertained trade offers from contending teams who were looking for a wide receiver, rather than appearing to keep those teams at arm’s length.
But with basically 30 years of evidence, we know the Bengals are a low-budget, behind-the-times operation. They are also the only organization Green has known in his career. He clearly sees the light at the end of that dark tunnel, and no one can blame him for protecting his interests if his ankle isn’t right.