If you were hoping for the San Francisco 49ers to make a splash in free agency by signing Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green, you could kiss that goodbye. On Sunday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Cincinnati would place the franchise tag on the 32-year-old wideout if the two sides cannot work out a long-term deal. There have been whispers that Joe Burrow isn’t sold on Cincinnati, so this is a selling point for Burrow.
Green is a playmaker. Nobody will argue that. His health and price tag may have made it difficult for the 49ers to sign Green, but he was always an intriguing option. Green has the fourth-most receiving yards since joining the NFL and has 63 touchdowns. As a fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, Green can stretch the field outside of the numbers and down the middle of the field.
You can look at this like the 49ers dodged a bullet, too. Green wanted to be paid like one of the highest receivers in the NFL. He’s undoubtedly one of the most talented wideouts, but Green has missed significant portions of 2016, ‘18, and ‘19 seasons due to injury. Cincy isn’t going to let Green walk for anything, especially with a rookie quarterback. If they did, San Francisco could find themselves in a similar situation midseason needing a wide receiver if Emmanuel Sanders walks in free agency. We don’t have to worry about that, as Green will remain with the Bengals in 2020.